The labor agreement between Major League Baseball and the minor leagues expired this week, but the Idaho Falls Chukars are still waiting to find out if they’ll have a 2021 season next summer.
The two sides are still negotiating a Professional Baseball Agreement, so Chukars General Manager Kevin Greene didn’t have any answers on Thursday. The Chukars were on the original list of teams to be cut after this season as part of MLB’s proposal to restructure the minor leagues.
“No one is giving up on pro baseball in Idaho Falls,” Greene said, noting that that the labor deal of 1990 wasn’t finalized until the winter meetings.
The Appalachian League was converted this week to a college summer circuit. According to the Associated Press, the Pioneer League — which features the Chukars and teams from Utah and Montana — and the New York-Penn League could also become college summer leagues.
Greene said keeping some affiliation with MLB is important for minor league teams. The Chukars are affiliates of the Kansas City Royals.
The 2020 minor league season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Chukars have been in a holding pattern since. Greene said the timing for the drawn out negotiations is bad because the organization would typically be working to get sponsorships and ticket holders this time of year.
“Minor League Baseball’s negotiators have been meeting with MLB to reach a new agreement – one that would continue the relationship with MLB and preserve affordable, family-friendly entertainment in each of our 150 communities across the nation. Minor League Baseball will continue to work in good faith over the coming weeks to reach a well-designed and fair agreement that meets MLB’s player development needs and continues the relationship between the two for generations to come,” D.G. Elmore, Chairman of Minor League Baseball’s Professional Baseball Agreement negotiating committee, said in a statement.