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Article: Minor Leaguers Deserve Better

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#1 Jim Crikket

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 12:25 AM

You can view the page at http://www.twinsdail...-Deserve-Better
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#2 mike wants wins

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 08:43 AM

I agree 100%. It isn't right what these guys get paid. As for the teams, I'm baffled they don't fund good nutrition for minor leaguers. These guys are an important business asset, yet they treat them like, well, I won't type how I feel.....just type that the lack of fairness and investment in minor leaguers is penny wise, pound foolish.

#3 DJL44

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 09:17 AM

I believe they get meal money, though it isn't much. It sort of amazes me that minor leaguers give fans any access at all. They don't get paid to give autographs or photos.

It is wrong that they don't get paid for spring training. Any time they have to be on the field they should be getting paid.

#4 Jarends703

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 09:18 AM

At $1,150 a month these players are eligible for food stamps. There's your nutrition program.

Who would think that a professional baseball player in America would need to be on food stamps?

#5 Jim Crikket

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 09:34 AM

Meal money is $25/day, I believe, but only when the team is on the road. $25 doesn't sound like much, but then when you consider that first year players are making less than $40 a day in salary, that extra $25 probably seems like a lot to some of these guys. I would imagine many of them pocket as much of their meal money as they can, at the expense of eating decent meals on the road. I'm sure I would.

In Cedar Rapids, there's food for the players in the clubhouse after the game and I'm sure many can and do get some meals with their host families. But the CR host family program is better than most.
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#6 Shane Wahl

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 11:36 AM

Wow, this was a good read, Jim. I find it weird that "assets" like these players have to often scrounge around life while in the minors. I think the *lucky* ones find jobs like substitute teaching which can be fairly easy, with time to think about baseball. If I owned an organization, I would not want my players worried about housing and offseason employment, and eating cheap, processed garbage food.

#7 DJL44

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 12:37 PM

Baseball is lucky they can find people to give their players free room and board.

I did some back of the envelope calculations and MLB could give everyone in the minors an extra $5000 for a total cost of about $1M per team. They're saving at least that much in minor league signing bonuses due to the more effective slot system.

#8 wabene

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 12:48 PM

In a way you could say it just mirrors society. A very small percentage of baseball players above, say, age 16, that percentage say 1%, make say 80 some percent of the money. Totally guessing on the figures, but there are a large amount of people in this country working jobs at large companies that make huge profits that are paid so little we have to subsidise their income. Obviously there are enough men willing to work under those conditions for the chance at the jackpot. Makes me think of the experience of RA Dicky from the documentary. His wife stuck with him and I'm sure helped him through all those years.

#9 JB_Iowa

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 12:53 PM

It is a great -- and under reported -- story.

Given the sheer amount of money in mlb, their failure to pay minor leaguers a living wage is a travesty.

#10 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 01:06 PM

Yeah, I remember reading about this a while back... Kind of disturbing really. If you aren't drafted in the first few rounds or get a nice signing bonus, you are making next to nothing. If I remember right, a guy on the 40 man roster is making around 50k/year... You can live off of that in some cities, but not many.

#11 mlhouse

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:20 PM

Then don't sign a contract and play minor league baseball. Go do something else with your life. The odds are that in a few years you will fail in your baseball career and have to anyways. No one is forcing the players to play baseball. This is a free society and whatever is unfair about the draft system of baseball is part of a collective bargaining agreement negotiated by a union.

Minor league teams are not a huge revenue generators. The Ft Myers Miracle get a reasonable crowd to start the season, but as the season (and summer) drones on the crowds dwindle. It is a fun and cheap game to go to, but most people can care less.

As far as college baseball players and the NCAA, the scholarships they receive are way more valuable than the financial considerations that colleges and universities get from a non-revenue program like baseball. Further, I would argue that most of the "brand value" of college athletics is owned by the college. Lets put it this way. Consider the University of Minnesota football, basketball, hockey or baseball teams. People pay big dollars to go to these events. Now, take those very same players, remove the University of Minnesota logo, and put them on a semi-pro or minor league sports team. Such teams would draw a pittance for attendance with even nominal ticket fees. Very few people would have interest.

#12 thetank

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:40 PM

The game is rich enough to pay these players a lot more. Just think how much the taxpayer pays for teams stadiums. Hard to believe the taxpayer doesn't pay something for the ones who don't get a big payday. Mandate % of MLB salaries to go the minors. This isn't going to bankrupt anyone.

#13 mike wants wins

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 02:52 PM

Meal money is nice, but it's not a nutrition program. You'd think a team would want it's most important assets to be the best they can be......I could't disagree more strongly with every word mlhouse posted, frankly. The NCAA is robbing these guys blind. And MLB teams are not doing anything to help themselves or minor league players.
Lighten up Francis....

#14 DJL44

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 03:12 PM

This is a free society and whatever is unfair about the draft system of baseball is part of a collective bargaining agreement negotiated by a union.


There are also labor laws and a union can't negotiate that some of it's non-members make less than minimum wage. Minor leaguers don't vote on the contract.

#15 mlhouse

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 04:18 PM

There are also labor laws and a union can't negotiate that some of it's non-members make less than minimum wage. Minor leaguers don't vote on the contract.



I did not mention the contract at all. I only mentioned the draft provisions of the collective bargaining agreement.

As far as minimum wage laws, I doubt that there are any violations. Adding in their per diem and even assuming that they are under their employers control 40 hours a week, they are essentially paid minimum wage. That is 40*4.25*7.25 is $1,232/month which is about hte minimum minor league salry.

Again, if these players do not want to essentially earn minimum wage they can opt out of a baseball career. About half of the drafted players already do just that.

#16 mlhouse

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 04:27 PM

The NCAA is robbing these guys blind. And MLB teams are not doing anything to help themselves or minor league players.


Seriously? Based on NCAA data the average NCAA Division I baseball team loses $665,000 a year. The median revenues are $337,000 which means that Division I colleges spend over a million per year so some "students" get the chance to play baseball and perhaps have a professional baseball career......Robbing these guys blind??? Seriously?

And, as I stated, even the revenue sports are not. While there are a handful of NCAA players in basketball and football that might be worth more than their scholarships, the vast majority are not.

I will again repeat my example of brand value. Remember the Minnesota Gopher basketball team that made it to the Final Four (1997). Bobby Jackson, Sam Jacobson, Quincy Lewis, etc? Put all of those players on a minor league basketball team and who pays to watch them? The answer is obviously many times fewer people that pay a much higher ticket price to watch a college basketball team that has the same, or even lesser, players.

The vast majority of the brand value that creates college sports revenues is "owned" by the universities and colleges and most of the scholarship players are being paid more than they are worth with their athletic scholarships, which in most cases are valued at over $25,000/year. (The fact that these academic scholarships are probably not worth that much to the actual player is exactly why college athletics are ethically challenged).

#17 zenser

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 04:28 PM

A good friend of mine was fortunate to play minor league baseball. He was a 50th round pick of the Pirates but made it to AAA. He told me once that basically all the guys pocket their meal money since they had food in the clubhouse after the games. I think at one time he said it was $50 a day when they were at home and it was slightly higher when they were on the road. At the time he was in AAA, Pat Mahomes was also on the roster and would take a bunch of guys out to eat and pick up the tab.

#18 johnnydakota

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 04:35 PM

Baseball is lucky they can find people to give their players free room and board.

I did some back of the envelope calculations and MLB could give everyone in the minors an extra $5000 for a total cost of about $1M per team. They're saving at least that much in minor league signing bonuses due to the more effective slot system.


5,000 x 20 = 1million, just saying,
to me they need to pay single A and lower 20,000 per season and AA and above 36,000 per season

#19 mike wants wins

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 04:45 PM

We disagree. When coaches make $5mM per year, and schools and the NCAA itself pocket millions from revenue sports, the players are underpaid, imo. You disagree. that's fine with me.

As for minor league players.....they are underpaid, if you consider them assets you are investing in, not only how much money the minor league teams make.
Lighten up Francis....

#20 mlhouse

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 04:57 PM

We disagree. When coaches make $5mM per year, and schools and the NCAA itself pocket millions from revenue sports, the players are underpaid, imo. You disagree. that's fine with me.

As for minor league players.....they are underpaid, if you consider them assets you are investing in, not only how much money the minor league teams make.


If college athletes and minor league players were "UNDERPAID" then no one would become a college athlete or minor league player. This proves you are wrong.

You can argue all you want about who is paid what and what is paid to who, that millions of dollars are made and spent lavishly by universities. I agree that this unethical behavior by the leadership of these colleges and universities is disgusting. But it still does not change the facts. Again, the vast bulk of the college brand value is owned by the university itself. Put the M on your helmet and your value as entertainment is multiplied significantly. These guys are paid significant amounts of money by receiving athletic scholarships.

While I oppose the straight out paying of college athletes (how do you negotiate a contract?), I believe that the NCAA can make a half way step by allowing a certain number of athletic scholarships to include stipends and have these stipends have differing values. For example, 5 of the football teams scholarships could have $1,000/month stipends. Another 10 could have $750/month. ANd maybe anohter 15 $500/month. Then if you are a college athlete being recruited by Florida St, Alabama, Texas A&M, Ohio St. and your local University of Minnesota, you might want to go to the U of M because those other big schools already used their $1,000 scholarship on some other recruit.

Of course, the NCAA does not want this because that would erase the super team conferences that generate all of their television revenues. It is a totally unethical system all the way.

My son plays Division III college football and is an academic all conference player. He plays for free. Every player that plays athletics for a college/university should play for free too.

#21 Madre Dos

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 04:58 PM

As a host mom for the Elizabethton Twins, I charge each player $100.00 per week. That doesn't even cover the groceries and my water and electric bills double while they are here. The boys each lunch here, take food to the park with them and then eat dinner here at 11:00 following the ballgame. I send food on the road with them too.

#22 mlhouse

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 05:02 PM

As for minor league players.....they are underpaid, if you consider them assets you are investing in....


And that is true although the problem with these "assets" is that the median expected value is essentially a negative value because so few players actually become assets to their major league team. "Investing" in a minor league nutrition program means not just spending the money on Byron Buxton but the 50 other prospects taht will never reach the major leagues.

Further, the major league teams "invests" significant money in the signing bonuses paid to the minor league players before they even play a game. This is how the economics of baseball works. The palyers taht are valuable assets, like Buxton and Sano, are given millions of dollars. The later round draft picks or the unknown players in the foreign leagues don't get anything.

This is how markets work.

Edited by mlhouse, 25 February 2014 - 05:04 PM.


#23 mlhouse

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 05:07 PM

As a host mom for the Elizabethton Twins, I charge each player $100.00 per week. That doesn't even cover the groceries and my water and electric bills double while they are here. The boys each lunch here, take food to the park with them and then eat dinner here at 11:00 following the ballgame. I send food on the road with them too.



But you are their second mother by choice. If you were in it for the money you would not be a host mom. That is my whole point about the minor league players. They make the choice of playing baseball as a professional. In many ways they are really, really lucky and should never complain.

#24 Thrylos

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 05:16 PM

As far as minimum wage laws, I doubt that there are any violations. Adding in their per diem and even assuming that they are under their employers control 40 hours a week, they are essentially paid minimum wage. That is 40*4.25*7.25 is $1,232/month which is about hte minimum minor league salary.


Yes and no ;)

The Federal minimum wage of $7.25 overrides and is the floor of State minimum wage. States can set the minimum wage higher than that and be the effective minimum wage for employees at that state. Here is a current list of state minimum wages. The Twins are conducting minor league business in: Connecticut ($8.70), Florida ($7.93), Iowa ($7.25), New York ($8.00) and Tennessee ($7.25). Minnesota is $7.25 also. The minimum minor league salary of $1,150 (/4.25*40) translates to around $6.25 an hour.

Unless the Twins are running a family farming business, there are issues here ;)

It is the big picture and perspective and ethics too: MLB teams are throwing senseless money left and right, while they are treating their minor leaguers like undocumented seasonal workers. It will take about a $1M dollars to double each and every minor leaguer's salary in an organization. $1M is usually the buyout of a bad option. How much did the Twins play Blackburn not to play in 2013 again?

MLB cannot call themselves good corporate citizens, unless they fix this...
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#25 mlhouse

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 05:26 PM

1. You are forgetting the per diem, which if the minor league teams had to they woudl simply convert into "wages". This eliminates the "minimum" wage problem. I also doubt that the minor league players are under their "employers" control 40 hours per week but even at that level their compensation should have no problem meeting minimum wage level.

2. What you are forgetting about the $1 million chump change is that the Twins had to pay it to buy Blackburn out.......in other words, spending another $1 million does not save you the Blackburn buyout.

3. Players that earn the right to be bought out for $1 million to not play demonstrate that they are at least marginal MLB players. That is the ultimate reward for any and every minor league player, and that needs to be factored in.

4. MLB is not a good corporate citizen. They are a profit maximizing activity that worries first and foremost about their bottom lines. All the "good citizen" talk is just rhetoric.

5. Again, since you are replying to my post, you are missing the point. MLB does not have to DOUBLE each and every minor leaguers current salary. LET ME REPEAT: THEY DO NOT HAVE TO DO ANYTHING WITH MINOR LEAGUE SALARIES. If the salaries were too low then they would not have enough qualified "employees" to fill their roster spots for the minor league teams. The reality is, and this is demonstrated every year, they have TOO MANY employees and they have to release players.

#26 shimrod

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 05:32 PM

MLB doesn't want anybody on their minor league team who's looking for a "living wage". They don't want anyone there because baseball's a little more fun than bagging groceries, or flipping burgers. The system is designed to filter out anyone who doesn't absolutely love the game, or is at least ambitious enough to fake it.

The entire minor league system should be compared to an apprenticeship program, or an internship. Until you make the major league club you're a financial liability. You haven't learned how to do your job and you're not worth paying. I'm no fan of the way the MLB does business, they've been screwing taxpayers around the country for years, but the minor league players can quit and find better paying jobs anytime they like. Most should.

#27 Oxtung

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 07:08 PM

Let me just say that I commiserate with the MiLB players. As a full time public education employee that brings home $1244 per month, it is extremely hard to make ends meet. Anyone that thinks this is a "livable wage" needs to think again. The idea that it is OK for a billion dollar industry to pay those kinds of wages is absurd.

Every CEO should try living on their lowest paid employee's salary so they can understand the hardships people go through. I don't believe that the executives at corporations that pay very little are heartless people but rather that it is too easy to become caught up in the financial bottom line and insulated from your fellow employees since you only see them at work. Then when you think about them in your mind you see the healthy, smiling "Jim" that comes to work everyday with a smile on his face trying to work hard. What you don't see is that "Jim" has to choose between repairing his vehicle so he can get to work or paying for his child's medications. I think if some of these very wealthy people actually came face to face with the poverty their corporations create things might change. At least I hope they would.

Sorry for the rant.

BTW, just because a player can "walk away" it doesn't make the wages OK.

#28 Thrylos

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 07:09 PM

The entire minor league system should be compared to an apprenticeship program, or an internship. .


Certainly. I totally agree. Established above that the current MiLB minimum equates to $6.25 and hour.

Trade apprentices get paid. Here is the current average for plumber apprentice wage data. $9-$19 mean $13. Minor leaguers would love that.

As far as internships go, they get paid at least minimum wage. There are free internships, but here are the government criteria that allow to not pay minimum wage. And all have to be satisfied:

1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

Very hard for a MiLB player situation to satisfy the bold terms.
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#29 Jim Crikket

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 07:09 PM

I understand that MLB doesn't "have to" do anything different unless/until a court determines that they must do so.

I simply don't believe that makes it right.

But then, there are many things baseball does that I don't believe are right. Maybe, one day, Congress will wake up and take away MLB's anti-trust exemption and we'll see what kind of business they can run when they have to live by the same rules pretty much every other business in the country has to work within.
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#30 DJL44

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Posted 25 February 2014 - 07:29 PM

5,000 x 20 = 1million, just saying,
to me they need to pay single A and lower 20,000 per season and AA and above 36,000 per season


5,000x20=100,000, not 1M. There are close to 200 minor league players per team if you disregard the foreign rookie leagues.