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Thread: Article: Minor Leaguers Deserve Better

  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
    With all due respect, it seems to me that the fact that young ballplayers can choose other career paths does not justify a regime that is inherently anti-competitive. What if all the hospitals and health insurance companies conspired to limit doctors' compensation to $50,000 per year? Under your theory, the best medical students could "choose" to work for hedge funds, until the hedge funds implement a similar monopolistic conspiracy.

    It seems to me that a union that fails to adequately represent its members is an abomination, and it is inherently unjust for an employee to be bound by a union contract if the employee has no vote.

    I understand that in order to maintain competitive balance, ballplayers must be locked into negotiating with whichever team owns the rights to their services, and must be prohibited from participating in a free market. However, it seems to me that the scales need to be balanced by allowing them to form a separate union where they get to elect leaders and vote on contracts. Then if the owners are not willing to make a deal, the owners can close their minor league franchises. I support free markets, but the current regime seems totally one sided and the opposite of free when it comes to minor league players.

    It seems to me that there should be a basic right to sell one's services to the highest bidder and that this is fundamental to capitalism and free markets. If such right is going to be suppressed in the name of preserving competitive balance among the 30 ballclubs, then there must be some mechanism for protecting the employees from gross exploitation.
    It doesnt matter what I think, nor what you think. I might even think such a situation is unfair. The problem is that is the law. For example see Wood v. NBA. Unionized labor has enormous power to distort the free market place.

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJL44 View Post
    On 3 - I know why there are restrictions. I think they are too heavy handed. They should be able to find a way to allow some outside work without banning all of it.

    On 4 - Do you believe in the free market or not? There are most certainly players who could make the big leagues that turn it down because they can't afford to be poor for 5 years. Are you asserting that supply and demand is baloney?

    MLB is oversupplied with teenagers who can still live at home in the offseason and Dominicans with no other options. That doesn't mean it has cornered the market on athletes. You contradict yourself with your example - the only way to get a talented multisport athlete to play baseball is to give them a huge bonus. There are players almost, but not quite, as good as Stewart every year who turn down a 3rd round signing bonus to play football or basketball. I want to see guys like Kenny Lofton playing baseball, not going to Europe to play basketball.
    1. With multi-sport athletes there is considerable competition between the sports. If major league baseball thought they were good they would offer them a bigger bonus. The minor league salary plays little part in this determination. It is essentially trivial when you are player that is in this competitive situation.

    2. You simply cannot ignore the bonuses as part of the baseball compensation scheme and pretend that the minor league stipend (which is what it really is) is the competitve price. The Twins 6th round draft pick last year catcher Brian Navarretto got a $262,500 signing bonus. Prorate that over the next 5 or 6 years and he is making more than an adequate income.

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
    It doesnt matter what I think, nor what you think. I might even think such a situation is unfair. The problem is that is the law. For example see Wood v. NBA. Unionized labor has enormous power to distort the free market place.
    Wood v. NBA has absolutely nothing to do with the point most of the people on this site are making. True, in both cases a union or league is setting salaries for players. However, Mr. Wood sued the NBA because his 1 year, $75,000 contract was not a market value offer. He wanted more money and sued that he was being harmed because he was not paid enough.

    This lawsuit was in 1984. In 1984 you could buy a gigantic house for $75,000. Certainly that was hundreds of multiples above minimum wage. The point most have made here is that $1,150 a month, given the hours these guys put in playing, practicing, training, and traveling is below minimum wage.

    http://www.leagle.com/decision/19841...FSupp525_11023

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
    So, if they are not in it for the money they cannot be underpaid. That is a contradiction that you are creating yourself. Hence, my comment to you that they are paid "just fine".
    This is not charity work. This check is the livelihood of thoustands of people. A big difference. Many illegal immigrants farm for $2-3 dollars an hour, which is illegal. It happens though, so given no shortage of people willing to do it, I guess they are paid fine?

  5. #85
    Speediest Moderator All-Star snepp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
    2. You simply cannot ignore the bonuses as part of the baseball compensation scheme and pretend that the minor league stipend (which is what it really is) is the competitve price. The Twins 6th round draft pick last year catcher Brian Navarretto got a $262,500 signing bonus. Prorate that over the next 5 or 6 years and he is making more than an adequate income.
    You simply can't ignore that the majority of players don't get bonuses anywhere near that figure.
    "Maybe you could go grab a bat and ball… and learn something. Maybe you will get it."
    - Strib commenter educating the elitists on the value of RBI's

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  7. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    Wood v. NBA has absolutely nothing to do with the point most of the people on this site are making. True, in both cases a union or league is setting salaries for players. However, Mr. Wood sued the NBA because his 1 year, $75,000 contract was not a market value offer. He wanted more money and sued that he was being harmed because he was not paid enough.

    This lawsuit was in 1984. In 1984 you could buy a gigantic house for $75,000. Certainly that was hundreds of multiples above minimum wage. The point most have made here is that $1,150 a month, given the hours these guys put in playing, practicing, training, and traveling is below minimum wage.

    http://www.leagle.com/decision/19841...FSupp525_11023
    He sued the NBA because he claimed the CBA prevented him from negotiating with other teams and it's scale lowered his earnings, and that he was NOT a member of the union that made the agreement.

    / edited by ashburyjohn to remove disrespectful and antagonistic phrasing
    Last edited by ashburyjohn; 02-28-2014 at 10:54 AM.

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  9. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    This is not charity work. This check is the livelihood of thoustands of people. A big difference. Many illegal immigrants farm for $2-3 dollars an hour, which is illegal. It happens though, so given no shortage of people willing to do it, I guess they are paid fine?
    Yes. If they were not paid just fine there would not be illegal immigrants.

  10. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    I think a more lucrative minor league wage is probably your best best for increasing the percentage of African-Americans in the game as well. The path to baseball takes awhile and without the financial incentive to be patient I think that potential group of players is the one hurt most.

    If baseball negotiated these payments directly with the minor leaguers, that would be something and the free market arguments would be valid. (They are valid, to a degree) But baseball has an anti-trust exception and that muddies the waters significantly.

    I disagree with this racial way of looking at it. Should the NBA be looking at increasing the number of white players in the league?

    Even if that was a worthwhile goal, minor league salaries are unimportant. What percent of the population knows what the minor league salary scales are? The choices of what sport to play are made long before such a concept would enter into an individual's thinking.

    High level players that play multiple sports are competitively bid on. I used the Kohl Stewart example. The guaranteed 7 figure signing bonus for a high school player is something other sports cannot even come close to and you would need to be one hell of a football/basketball/hockey (maybe) to turn that offer down.

    Baseball also has several other financial advantages other sports cannot compte against. Football has significant injury risk and their contracts are not guaranteed. Football also does not have a minor league or foreign league system were players just below the "major league" level can earn significnat incomes by playing minor league football.

    Another aspect of the football and basketball player economics is that to make the professional levels you have to go to college for what essentially is your minor league seasons. Baseball is allowed to draft players directly from the high schools.

    So there are competitive advantages to baseball just as there are some to other sports.

  11. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
    If major league baseball thought they were good they would offer them a bigger bonus.
    That only works if you think the baseball draft is made with perfect knowledge of the future potential of the draftees. That clearly isn't the case. High round picks bust often and low round picks make the majors.

  12. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
    Yes. If they were not paid just fine there would not be illegal immigrants.
    Just a philosophical difference then.

    The immigrants from latin america that illegally make $2 an hour are not underpaid. What if we smuggled immigrants from Ethiopia and paid them 20 cents an hour? Some would be willing. 1.60 a day sounds reasonable with your line of reasoning. Can we find anyone to go lower? What about a child from Ethiopia? This is really fun and not at all morally objectionable.
    Last edited by tobi0040; 02-28-2014 at 10:44 AM.

  13. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJL44 View Post
    That only works if you think the baseball draft is made with perfect knowledge of the future potential of the draftees. That clearly isn't the case. High round picks bust often and low round picks make the majors.
    Nope.........perfect knowledge is not required. Value in economics is a subjective opinion, not objective. So, the Twins thought BJ Garbe was worthy of the 6th overall pick in the draft and a 7 figure signing bonus. They also thought that Justin Morneau was worthy of a 3rd round pick. Not perfect knowledge, but that is how the valuation of the players are given their expectations.

  14. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
    Lol!!!!!!!! You clearly have zero understanding of the case. He sued the NBA because he claimed the CBA prevented him from negotiating with other teams and it's scale lowered his earnings, and that he was NOT a member of the union that made the agreement. These were the points you made. Woods refutes your points.
    Let me explain, again why almost everyone else on this thread thinks they are underpaid.

    $1,150 a month / 8 hours a day / 30 days a month = $4.79 an hour. It is illegal to pay someone $4.79 in this country.

    Mr. Wood, in 1984 dollars was paid seven times more than todays minimim wage.

    It really is not that complicated.

  15. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    Just a philosophical difference then.

    The immigrants from latin america that illegally make $2 an hour are not underpaid. What if we smuggled immigrants from Ethiopia and paid them 20 cents an hour? Some would be willing. 1.60 a day sounds reasonable with your line of reasoning. Can we find anyone to go lower? This is really fun and not at all morally objectionable.
    Nope. If the wages paid to illegal immigrants were higher, MORE illegal immigrants would cross the border. If wages paid were lower, FEWER illegal immigrants would cross the border. That isn't just a philosophy, it is the law.

    Next, it doesn't matter what wage rate I THINK is "reasonable". It only matters what the person ACCEPTING the wage believes is "reasonable". I wouldn't poop for $2/hour but to some people given what their alternatives are, $2/hour might be an economic windfall. It is a subjective measure of the value of your labor, time, and alternatives.

    Next, if there were peope that willingly and knowlingly wanted to work for $0.20/hour who are you to decide if that is right or not? Clearly, if they are doing it willingly and knowingly then the $0.20/hour might be significantly more than what they can earn otherwise and starvation might be their other real alternative.

  16. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    Let me explain, again why almost everyone else on this thread thinks they are underpaid.

    $1,150 a month / 8 hours a day / 30 days a month = $4.79 an hour. It is illegal to pay someone $4.79 in this country.

    Mr. Wood, in 1984 dollars was paid seven times more than todays minimim wage.

    It really is not that complicated.

    You are changing your argument know. Your argument was that the draft and other issues with respect to the labor agreement with the baseball union was wrong, and that players taht were not part of the union when it such agreements were made should not be subject to that agreement. Wood v NBA and many other court cases disproves your assertion.

    Next, the minimum wage law is pretty much dead. There are lots of ways that a minor (notice the employer is a minor not major) league team will almost certainly be able to demonstrate that the players are not under their control for more than 40 hours per week for one and second, that the pay is based more on a "game" than hours worked. All kinds of compensation is based on this such as on-call work. In that case, overtime and minimum wages do not matter as long as the parties agreed to the compensation (check), that the compensation has some rational basis (check), and that the wages are competitive (check).

  17. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
    players just below the "major league" level can earn significant incomes by playing minor league football.
    Except the CFL.

    One point I just remembered is the two groups at the bargaining table just negotiated those amateur signing bonuses downward and that savings is enough to boost minor league wages significantly.

    Is a team allowed to double the pay of their minor league players? It would be a creative way to get around international bonus pool limits if they offered more pay instead of a large signing bonus. From a quick google search it appears that teams can negotiate pay after the first year which is set by contract. The Twins could make themselves very attractive to international free agents if they're known as the team that pays double.

  18. #96
    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    Just a small point here, but this system isn't a free market. We can talk about free market economics here, but the reality is that it doesn't exist in baseball.

    MLB has an anti-trust exemption based on the fact that they are essentially a trust. The draft, by its very nature, is anti-competitive as the 30 organizations essentially decide who potential labor pays for and sets their wage. That's illegal in every industry unless they get an exemption, and the reason why MLB is allowed to do it is because they have a collectively bargained agreement with the union. The problem though is that while the union "represents" minor leaguers, they aren't actually voting members of the union and so their interests are not being represented.

    This one, in the eyes of the law, is pretty clear. Minor leaguers will either get to unionize, or they will be granted membership in the MLBPA. Their current wage, bonuses, etc. are all immaterial to this, other than proof that MLB and the MLBPA have been ignoring the interests of minor leaguers because quite frankly no one has forced them to do otherwise.

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  20. #97
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    [QUOTE=mlhouse;199607]You are changing your argument know. Your argument was that the draft and other issues with respect to the labor agreement with the baseball union was wrong, and that players taht were not part of the union when it such agreements were made should not be subject to that agreement. Wood v NBA and many other court cases disproves your assertion. QUOTE]

    Maybe you are confusing me with someone else. Here is my quote from the first post I made on this thread, two days ago:

    "The monthly check has to be below minimum wage if you view "work" like a business would, the time at the ball-park, practice, and travel time would all need to be paid"


    It sounds to me like you have an argument with the logic of minimum wage.
    Last edited by tobi0040; 03-06-2014 at 03:03 PM.

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  22. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
    Just a small point here, but this system isn't a free market. We can talk about free market economics here, but the reality is that it doesn't exist in baseball.

    MLB has an anti-trust exemption based on the fact that they are essentially a trust. The draft, by its very nature, is anti-competitive as the 30 organizations essentially decide who potential labor pays for and sets their wage. That's illegal in every industry unless they get an exemption, and the reason why MLB is allowed to do it is because they have a collectively bargained agreement with the union. The problem though is that while the union "represents" minor leaguers, they aren't actually voting members of the union and so their interests are not being represented.

    This one, in the eyes of the law, is pretty clear. Minor leaguers will either get to unionize, or they will be granted membership in the MLBPA. Their current wage, bonuses, etc. are all immaterial to this, other than proof that MLB and the MLBPA have been ignoring the interests of minor leaguers because quite frankly no one has forced them to do otherwise.

    Agreed. This is not a free market. I would expect this to change in the next few years, and minor leaguers to be paid above minimum wage at a minimum and possibly receive representation.

  23. #99
    Originally Posted by tobi0040 Let me explain, again why almost everyone else on this thread thinks they are underpaid.

    $1,150 a month / 8 hours a day / 30 days a month = $4.79 an hour. It is illegal to pay someone $4.79 in this country.


    Let me point out that the minimum wage is not an all-encompassing law. Many people are exempt, most of whom are also compensated in some other manner. You've got your wait staff working for less than minimum plus tips. You can get sales jobs that don't pay a stinking dime, straight commission. I would argue the minor league players compare well with the commission example. They earn a stipend with the opportunity to make a tremendous amount more if they perform well enough to make the MLB team, which is also the first time they generate any positive revenue for their employer.

    You just cannot disregard the potential riches these guys all have a legitimate shot at. The chance to strive for a major league contract or even stardom is compensation of a sort. The fact many fall short doesn't change the fact they still had a shot most people never get. That shot has more value than another 3 or four bucks an hour.
    Last edited by shimrod; 02-28-2014 at 12:37 PM.

  24. #100
    Head Moderator MVP glunn's Avatar
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    It seems to me that the biggest problem with pure capitalism is that it ignores any concept of fairness. Capitalism is an economic theory that is designed to maximize production. Before there were unions and before there was a minimum wage, millions of people lived in extreme poverty so that a relative handful of people could live in extreme luxury.

    Obviously, if given the choice between 20 cents an hour or starving, most people would pick 20 cents an hour. But who wants to live in a country where anyone is faced with such choices?

    I hate the idea of someone working 40+ hours a week and not being able to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter and health care for his or her family. To me, that seems fundamentally unfair.

    Is the CEO of General Motors really worth $20 million per year while a janitor is worth $20,000. Was it the janitors who caused General Motors to go bankrupt a few years ago? Was it really a good thing for the CEO to be able to be able to spend $2 million per year on a private jet while janitors' children died from lack of health care?

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