The following joint statement was issued by the owners and staff of the Daytona Tortugas minor league team in Daytona Beach.
We are shocked and disappointed to learn that Daytona is one of 42 cities on Major League Baseball’s “contraction” list as part of the 2021 proposal. Contraction is Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred’s euphemism for a city that has apparently outlived its usefulness to our national pastime.
We want our community to know that we reject that way of thinking and will do everything humanly possible to protect the future of professional baseball in Daytona Beach and Volusia County. We also stand with the other 41 communities across this country that have been placed on Major League Baseball’s “hit” list by league executives whom are too short-sighted to realize that baseball is played — and fandom cultivated — in the cornfields of Iowa, in the sandlots of Tennessee, in the mountains of West Virginia and yes, on the playgrounds and baseball fields a block or two from The World’s Most Famous Beach.
42 is a number that has far greater meaning to our country’s Civil Rights history than the way MLB is cavalierly tossing it around today. It symbolizes hope. It symbolizes diversity, And it symbolizes inclusion. All of those characteristics were on display on March 17, 1946 at City Island Ball Park when Jackie Robinson took the field for the first time as a professional baseball player and broke baseball’s color barrier. To this day the aptly renamed Jackie Robinson Ballpark serves as a historic pilgrimage site for baseball fans, civil rights advocates, and anyone who supports equal rights, dignity and compassion for all.
As owners of this franchise, we see ourselves as proud caretakers of YOUR team. Minor League Baseball has been played in Daytona Beach for 100 years. Jackie Robinson, if he were alive today, would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year. And we stand 100% behind this community, its leaders and elected officials in doing whatever is necessary to ensure that Major League Baseball and its commissioner don’t rob this community of its history or OUR national pastime. We believe both Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson would stand shoulder- to-shoulder with us on this issue.
Professional baseball will be played at The Jack in 2020 but we need all of the 386 to make your voices heard for it to be enjoyed for generations to come. #StandWithTheJack
Mike T. says
This truly sucks. I live in central New York and our local team the Auburn Doubledays has been around forever. We support them as the rest of the community supports them. it’s a great thing for families and friends to get together and for kids to enjoy themselves at . We have been vacationing in the Daytona area for almost 20 years now and catch a Tortugas game every year. There is nothing like it after a cold winter in central New York. Please everyone wish your opinion on this– we can’t let Minor League Baseball die.
Well said! Protect this park. Historic, well-run, and preserves a beautiful piece of land. Hope the lure of high rises and corporate greed haven’t affected the decision-making about this important baseball icon.
Debbie Wilson says
What can we do? This brought me to tears. We love going to the Jack with our friends and family.
Alphonse Abonte says
MLB wants to get all the rewards of minor league ballparks with no investments. MLB wants the cities to pony up with better facilities, more tax incentives, and a free ride. MLB is playing us. MLB sees the NFL and they want in. If the minors fold, where are the next major league players coming from? Think about it!
Eugene Hartke says
America – Mom, B̶a̶s̶e̶b̶a̶l̶l̶ Soccer, and Apple Pie.
Ron Parfitt Jr says
If MLB wants to promote the game of baseball, you don’t eliminate the game. How is eliminating minor league baseball teams going to help promote the game? It doesn’t make sense! Other sports are pushing their game as much as possible while MLB wants to get rid of teams where the fans develope a love for the game. We get to see the stars of the future. By eliminating teams will only destroy the “future” of the game. They better think long and hard before they ruin their fan base and in the final run lose the game of baseball. Baseball in Daytona is a way to develope the love for the game by bringing family and friends together for a memorable experience. Don’t dash away the spirit of baseball for some stupid economic decision. When you lose the youngsters you lose the future of baseball. MLB better think twice before making a drastic decision and ruining the future of the great game of baseball.
My father-in-law is 94 two years ago we took him to a tortugas game. He was very impressed with the team. He is from Iowa and a Cubs fan. MLB needs to keep the team.