In addition to receiving proposed updated facility standards, MiLB teams have received from Major League Baseball proposed revisions to travel and scheduling. As expected, those revisions would improve the quality of life for players and coaches while likely increasing costs for MiLB teams.
Most significantly, MiLB teams would be required to provide two buses for every road trip (up from one under previous rules). For any trip of 250 or more miles, one of the two buses must be a sleeper bus. That change would likely double the transportation costs for MiLB teams, but it will also provide a significantly superior travel experience for teams.
Another provision would likely cause some teams’ travel costs to climb significantly.
In MLB’s proposal, any trip farther than 350 miles would require that the team either travel by air or use a bus on an off day. Any trip of 550 miles or more must be by air and any Triple-A trip of 350 miles or more must also be a flight. There is an exception allowed for Triple-A teams to bus for trips of 350-550 miles if the MLB team agrees, there are no direct flights between the cities and the travel occurs on or before an off day.
If adopted, the 350-mile limit could significantly increase costs for some MiLB teams.
Generally, a two-bus trip costs around $2,000-$2,500 a day. The same trip by air would likely run about $10,000, plus the additional costs of the bus for the trip to and from the airport to the team hotel and stadium.
In the Northwest League, the Spokane Indians are more than 350 miles from all but two other teams in the league and the Boise Hawks are more than 350 miles from all but one of the other teams in the league.
In the Midwest League, the Bowling Green Hot Rods are more than 350 miles from all but Dayton and Fort Wayne.
But the league that will likely be most affected is the Texas League. Midland and Amarillo are more than 350 miles from every other opponent except each other. For Corpus Christi, every single road trip is further than 350 miles.
MLB has also proposed that any trip of 50 or more miles would require a hotel stay. Under previous rules, trips of 100 miles or less could be a commuter trip where the team bussed to the game and then returned home each night.
Among the proposal’s other notable provisions, MLB would retain the right to set the number of games in a season (previously the set number of 140 games was part of the Professional Baseball Agreement). There has been plenty of speculation that Class A may play a reduced schedule of games, with some involved parties believing that their seasons could be cut from 140 games to as few as 120.
For some clubs in cold weather, losing early April dates would likely have very little financial impact. MLB teams would also likely prefer to keep their