MLB Outsources Making of Gear to China. Minnesota Town Braces for Factory Closure.

Now even the American pastime is made in China.

Less than 100 miles from the Iowa cornfield where Major League Baseball staged its “Field of Dreams” game celebrating small-town America, a small Minnesota town is bracing for the proposed closure of a factory partially owned by the league.

For more than two decades, Miken has been one of the largest employers in Caledonia, Minnesota, a community of around 2,800 people. Currently, its factory makes the batting helmets used by all Major League Baseball players and composite bats for softball.

But soon, the batting helmet production will shift to Missouri and the bat production will move to China. For Caledonia, a town tucked into the southeastern corner of Minnesota, the shift means good-paying jobs leaving town and most leaving the country.

Pre-pandemic, the factory employed up to an estimated 150 and paid better than a living wage. Now, the roughly 80 people still working there will soon be out of a job.

The fact the nation’s pastime may have a hand in outsourcing jobs has residents crying foul.

“We’re very proud of that company,” said resident Kari Neuman. “It’s very sad that the new owners are not going to respect that small-town work ethic and they are just going to move it to China for more money.”

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