Explore Big Sky: Tester vouches for MT baseball

Montana is one of two states that does not have a single major league professional sports team, nor does it border a state that has one. On Sept. 30, the agreement that has kept professional baseball in play across Montana reached its expiration date, and Sen. Jon Tester is requesting that Major League Baseball officials commit to preserving the Pioneer League. Last fall, MLB said it would restructure the minor league system, leading to a proposal that would eliminate more than 40 teams, including the Billings Mustangs, Great Falls Voyagers, Missoula Osprey and the remainder of the Pioneer League. Tester is urging MLB to negotiate a new contract with the minors that would salvage these teams and expand the Pioneer League in Montana.

“I hear from local officials in my state about the heartbreak the absence of the Pioneer League could have on their communities’ fans and businesses,” Tester said in a Sept. 30 press release. “I strongly believe the future of MLB will also be harmed by pulling out of rural states like Montana. A baseball fan pays the same amount for an MLB.TV subscription whether they live in Manhattan, Montana or Manhattan, New York. MLB should not walk away from its rural fans.”