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Across the Country, Minor League Towns Face Major League Threat

Fred Vuich/Sports Illustrated, via Getty Images

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Lexington Legends take the mantle of home team seriously. The owners of this minor league baseball franchise are immersed in regional charities. Its handlebar-mustachioed mascot, Big L, crashes dozens of birthday parties every year. Its ballplayers routinely visit the hospital bedsides of children.

The owners say their team’s ability to draw 4,000 fans a game has hinged in part on its connection to Major League Baseball, first as a Houston Astros affiliate and now with the Kansas City Royals. Locals who may never visit a major league stadium can see the hottest prospects, the future Jose Altuves, down at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.