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Billings mayor joins task force in fight to save the Mustangs

Posted at 6:05 PM, Feb 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-10 20:08:22-05

BILLINGS — Billings Mayor Bill Cole stepping up to the plate and joining the national mayors' task force that's fighting to save nearly four dozen minor league baseball teams, including the Pioneer League's Billings Mustangs.

Major League Baseball has proposed eliminating 42 minor league franchises across the country, including the entire Pioneer League, which has three Montana teams.

The mayors believe this plan "is misguided, and that’s why we are joining with dozens of mayors from across the country to stop it," wrote Columbia, S.C., Mayor Steve Benjamin, Chattanooga, Tenn., Mayor Andy Berke and Dayton, Ohio, Mayor Nan Whaley in a letter published in Forbes.

Cole encouraged anyone who has an interest in this, to contact congressional delegation, and tell them how important it is to save the Mustangs.

"Fortunately Sen. (Steve) Daines, Sen. (Jon) Tester and Congressmen Greg Gianforte have already gotten involved, which we are very appreciative of. But we are critically dependent upon them to go at bat for us. We can't strike out," Cole told Q2.

He said the Mustangs have had a long-standing relationship with the Cincinnati Reds, their Major League parent team, and been a part of the Billings community.

"We have over 3,000 people in attendance in Billings. That is some of the best in the Pioneer League. We have got the best facility. We have a great team. We have been affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds now for over 40 years, and that is an amazing tradition that we really need to save," Cole said.

If the cuts are approved in Major League Baseball's operating agreement with the minor league, they would take effect before the 2021 season.

Meetings have been pushing this forward this month, and the decision could be made any day.