Sen. Smith calls on Rawlings to reconsider decision to send Minnesota jobs to China

State and federal lawmakers are pushing back Thursday on a plan to send Minnesota jobs overseas to China.

Miken Sports is located in the small town of Caledonia, Minnesota and they're a major supplier for Major League Baseball. In fact, MLB has a financial stake in the company.

"Don't get me wrong, I’m a fan, a big Twins fan," said Senator Tina Smith.

Senator Tina Smith insists she loves rooting on the hometown team. But she is not happy about an apparent business move by Rawlings, to shut down a sporting good manufacturing plant in southeastern Minnesota.

"What we need to do is get them to re-think this kind of decision that I think is bad for their image and bad for what people want to think about Major League Baseball, America’s pastime," said Smith.

Senator Smith is talking about Miken Sports and its facility some 150 miles from Target Field in Caledonia. According to state and local officials, Miken is currently making those bats, and helmets in Caledonia where the facility employs about 80 people.

Apparently, Rawlings is planning to close down the Minnesota operation in a cost-saving measure, moving its helmet work to Missouri and bat manufacturing to China in a transition that’s expected to play out over the next 18-24 months.

"I can’t get my arms around the fact that America’s pastime is moving jobs from Caledonia to communist China, makes no sense whatsoever," said Minnesota State Representative Greg Davids.

"Representative Davids and I strongly encouraged them to keep all the manufacturing in Caledonia and even expand it," added Minnesota State Senator Jeremy Miller. "Unfortunately, they said their decision is already made."

A spokesman for the MLB responded to the story on Thursday insisting that MLB only has a financial stake in Rawlings and that all business and operational decisions made, like this one, are made by Rawlings itself.