UPDATE: Could the Chattanooga Lookouts be no more?
UPDATE: Some Minor League Baseball teams could lose ties to the Major League, and that includes the Chattanooga Lookouts.
A New York Times report over the weekend named 42 Minor League Baseball teams that could lose affiliation.
Upper management of the Lookouts say they were stunned that their team made the list, but they say they don't see a future without baseball in Chattanooga.
"To talk about a team that started in 1885 and just being done with that is shocking," said Chattanooga Lookouts President Rich Mozingo. "It hits you really to your core."
Major League and Minor League Baseball are renegotiating their contracts. One of the owners of the Chattanooga Lookouts says cutting teams is an idea that has only been floated around.
"From our perspective any plan that eliminates baseball from 40-plus markets is bad not just for minor league baseball but bad for Major League Baseball and obviously bad for communities and fans," said Jason Freier.
Improving facilities and decreasing travel time were some of the reasons given for possibly cutting these teams. Jason Freier says there are solutions to both of those problems.
"There are obviously ways to improve facilities without cutting teams. You just set a new standard and tell teams they have to meet that," said Freier. "In terms of travel time, the more teams you have the less the travel time will be. If you have more teams there will be more teams closer to you."
Freier says he only sees one reason that this is on the table.
"We think at the end of the day the only reason that makes sense to reduce teams and not give them a chance to improve facilities for instance is for Major League Baseball to save money," said Freier.
But it’s not just the more than 125 years of history that the Lookouts have in Chattanooga that cement the team’s success as a franchise.
The Lookouts are in the top half of teams for attendance last year.
"But on the baseball side we average 3,500 people every time we open the gates. We had 70 home games last year. That's a lot of people. Almost a quarter of a million people come through the gates here every year," said Mozingo.
Mozingo says they will fight to stay affiliated with Major League Baseball, and that they know the community will support them in this effort.
"Our biggest concern is staying with affiliated baseball and being what we've been in Chattanooga like you said for the past 125 years," said Mozingo.
This is only a preliminary proposal.
Freier says that like most ideas that are floated around during renegotiations, he hopes that this falls on the cutting room floor.
Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story.
PREVIOUS STORY: Several news outlets are reporting a major restructuring on minor league baseball teams.
The news, which could change minor league baseball as many fans know it, was reported over the weekend in the New York Daily News and the New York Times.
The Chattanooga Lookouts are mentioned as one of the teams that could face those changes proposed by Major League Baseball, which appear to be centered on the dissatisfaction with the aging ballparks used by the minor league teams. Some 42 minor league teams of the total 160 teams could be eliminated.
Channel 3 spoke with Chattanooga lookout owner Jason Frier, who told Sports Director Paul Shahen 'It's all very preliminary. Even if restructured/condensed, I can't imagine a world where Chattanooga would not be a part of MiLB.'
This is a developing story and will be updated.