IDAHO FALLS — Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin and Governor Brad Little are taking a stand in an effort to save Idaho Falls Chukars baseball.
The two sent a letter to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressing their opinions on the proposal to cut 42 minor league teams, including the Chukars, and how it would hurt the community.
“Like so many communities around the country, Idaho Falls benefits greatly from the team’s presence due to the affordable, family-friendly entertainment it provides to members of our community,” the letter states. “Additionally, the sport supports numerous allied businesses, is an important local employer, and helps support local charities.”
If the Chukars are cut, employees, hotels, utility companies and vendors would feel the loss.
There are five full-time employees, and in 2019 they spent $92,000 on part-time employees. The team pays for hotel rooms at Fairfield Inn, Candlewood and Le Ritz where they spent $180,000 last season. They paid $10,700 in utilities that same year. A handful of local food and beverage distributors would also be affected. Last year, $189,000 was spent between 14 companies.
“What can we do to prevent the loss of these important resources to our local communities?,” the letter says. “We, as members of Idaho’s Executive Branch who recognize the tremendous value of Minor League Baseball, are calling on Major League Baseball to strongly reconsider its proposed course with Minor League Baseball and to do all that it can to ensure the continuation of affiliated baseball in our local communities.”
Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper also voiced her concern of the Chukars possibly being eliminated.
Negotiations are expected to go on for a while. The date for a final decision has not been determined.