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ADVISORY: Expert Available to Discuss Minor League Baseball Realignment Plan

APRIL 17, 2020
CONTACT: Douglas J. Donovan
Cell: 443-462-2947
douglasjdonovan@jhu.edu @jhumediareps

A computer scientist at Johns Hopkins University is available to discuss a new study analyzing Major League Baseball’s plan to realign Minor League Baseball by eliminating several small-town teams across the United States and re-shuffling remaining squads into new leagues.

Anton Dahbura, a computer science professor and executive director of the JHU Information Security Institute, leads the Johns Hopkins University Minor League Baseball Scheduling Optimization Research Team. He is available to speak to how his group determined that Major League Baseball’s plan to eliminate 42 minor league teams is unlikely to achieve its stated objectives of improving player health and welfare by reducing team travel.

The report that Dahbura’s research team produced is available here: Minor League Baseball Realignment v5 03-18-20

Major League Baseball “evidently has not considered the new logistical issues that are likely to be caused in the process of attempting to resolve existing issues,” states the analysis.

Dahbura’s researchers found that several elements of the MLB plan “are arguably not a noticeable improvement” over the existing alignment of 162 teams across four levels (AAA, AA, A+, A) and “will not significantly improve the wear and tear on [minor league] players.”

Major League Baseball devised the realignment plan to prepare for the expiration of its agreement with the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, which governs the minor leagues. Among the 42 teams placed on the chopping block, 13 would cease operating and 29 would no longer be affiliated with MLB, which is looking to cut costs.

Major League Baseball’s plan to realign the minor leagues has drawn criticism from members of Congress who represent some small cities and towns that host leagues. And the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues has asked MLB to work cooperatively to develop a proposal that ensures improvements to older ballparks while also reducing travel.

Dahbura’s research team, which also schedules games for numerous minor league baseball leagues, developed what he calls a “best-case realignment plan” and several other alternative designs using a methodology he wants the MLB to consider.

“It is extremely important to analyze the proposed plan as well as future realignment proposals to determine the optimal realignment of the remaining [minor league] teams into leagues and to identify the advantages and disadvantages of such plans both on their own merits and in comparison to the current alignment scheme,” Dahbura wrote in the analysis.

Dahbura has owned a minority interest in the Hagerstown Suns, a Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, for nine years. The realignment proposal he and his students devised does not include the Suns and does not make any recommendation regarding the future of the team, which is one of the 42 teams on Major League Baseball’s cutting board.

Dahbura can be reached at 410-516-0211 or antondahbura@jhu.edu or through Douglas Donovan at 443-997-9907 or douglasjdonovan@jhu.edu.

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