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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
I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

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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.
I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

~You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant~

#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.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :) Also, I am NOT trying to convince anyone I am correct, I'm just talking here, not arguing.


#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.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :) Also, I am NOT trying to convince anyone I am correct, I'm just talking here, not arguing.


#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.