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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) warms up before a baseball game against the Leaders Believers Achievers Foundation at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa on August 19, 2019. (Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Sanders Welcomes End of Major League Lockout But Slams 'Baseball Oligarchs'

"We are dealing with an organization controlled by a number of billionaires," the democratic socialist senator said, while vowing to introduce legislation to end MLB owners' antitrust exemption.

Brett Wilkins

As Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced Thursday that they'd come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders welcomed news that the 99-day lockout was over and the full 162-game season would be saved and promised to introduce a bill aimed at ending the "baseball oligarchs'" antitrust exemption.

While Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement that he is "delighted to see an agreement reached so that the Major League Baseball season can start," he slammed the "unacceptable behavior" of team owners, who he said "negotiated in bad faith for more than 100 days in a blatant attempt to break the players' union."

"We are dealing with an organization controlled by a number of billionaires who collectively are worth over $100 billion," the democratic socialist and two-time U.S. presidential candidate noted. "It should be clear to all that these baseball oligarchs have shown that they are far more concerned about increasing their wealth and profits than in strengthening our national pastime."

Sanders excoriated the owners for eliminating their teams' affiliation with more than 40 minor league ballclubs, "not only causing needless economic pain and suffering but also breaking the hearts of fans in small and mid-sized towns all over America."

The senator took the "baseball oligarchs" to task for paying minor league players "totally inadequate wages," for seeking to "eliminate the jobs of another 900 minor league players," and for taking "billions of dollars in corporate welfare from taxpayers to build expensive stadiums" while charging "outrageously high prices for tickets that many working-class families cannot afford."

"It would be wrong for Congress to simply celebrate today's agreement and move on," Sanders asserted. "We must prevent the greed of baseball's oligarchs from destroying the game. The best way to do that is to end Major League Baseball's antitrust exemption and I will be introducing legislation to do just that."

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