FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - The Fort Wayne TinCaps are calling on their fans to lobby Washington D.C. decision-makers to direct hundreds of millions of dollars in unspent COVID relief funds to cash strapped minor league baseball teams.
Minor league teams like the TinCaps got hammered in 2020 when the pandemic eliminated their baseball season and slashed revenues by about 90 percent.
Attendance restrictions at times have to a lesser extent cut down on ticket and concession sales this year as well.
The Minor League Baseball Relief Act seeks to repurpose leftover CARES Act, or American Rescue Plan funds to help out the struggling franchises.
Concert halls, theaters, museums and comedy clubs have already received some of the same kind of federal aid.
Proponents say a number of minor league baseball teams are desperate for a helping hand.
"There are well over 60 or 70 percent of minor league teams that had to take a tremendous amount of debt on over the last 15 months to be able to continue on. And we're just hopeful that this funding source can stabilize that," said Michael Limmer, The TinCaps Vice-President of Marketing.
The TinCaps management is asking fans to go to minorleaguebaseballrelief.com and fill out a form that will automatically generate a letter to Congressman Jim Banks and U.S. Senators Mike Braun and Todd Young from Indiana, urging them to vote for the bill.
Banks is already on board.
In a statement released by his office, Banks said, "Similarly situated entertainment venues across the country received funds from Congress. I am cosponsoring this bill to give unspent COVID relief funds to the TinCaps and other minor league organizations at no extra cost to taxpayers so that Hoosiers can continue to enjoy our national pastime for years to come."
Congress is expected to vote on the Minor League Baseball Relief Act in the coming weeks.