The continued underpayment of minor league baseball players is nearly law. On Page 1,967 of the new omnibus bill is an amendment that exempts minor league players from federal labor law. If Congress passes the bill by Friday, it's official. The language: https://t.co/oNXzB8iud4 pic.twitter.com/102mGFD3Mj— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 22, 2018
The hardest I ever loved baseball was when I fell for the Binghamton Mets in 2010. It breaks my heart thinking back to that team, now understanding how little they were making and how much they were sacrificing for a shot at their dream.— Helen Silfin (@HESilf) March 22, 2018
It is no secret that most of my favorite baseball players are not superstars. Most of them spent most of their careers in the Minor Leagues. Most of them were on the 2010 Binghamton Mets. Mike Nickeas, Zach Lutz, and Josh Satin are just a few of the players I followed through Binghamton and New Orleans and Buffalo and Las Vegas. In my mind they were superstars, even if they weren't actually top prospects or future MLB stars.
One of the most frustrating parts of growing up is learning all the ways the thing you thought was wonderful and fun and pure is not so wonderful and fun and pure. Minor League Baseball is not exempt from such realizations. I read enough back then to know MiLB life was not glamorous or easy (to say the least) but I didn't realize just how bad it was. It hurts thinking back on some of my most cherished memories and understanding what the people on the field were sacrificing.
The people on Minor League Baseball fields across the country work for less than minimum wage during the season and for absolutely nothing during Spring Training. The people on Minor League Baseball fields live in poverty so Major League Baseball owners can line their own pockets. Those same Major League Baseball owners somehow expect to get peak performance out of people not provided with a living wage for their full-time work. When I made less than minimum wage as a camp counselor and intern I was living at home and it wasn't really necessary for me to be at peak physical fitness. Minor League Baseball players are not teenagers working summer jobs or college students at internships. Minor League Baseball players are professional athletes who are not being provided with the necessary resources for peak productivity.
I wish I knew what I could do to help MiLB players achieve fair wages. (For the record, I also wish interns and really anybody working could make minimum wage.) For now though, I just want to put it out there that MiLB players are awesome. Their families and all of the people rooting for them and supporting them are awesome. It's kind of amazing that anyone chooses to be a baseball player. I know I'm only one person, only one small voice, but I'm incredibly grateful for the MiLB players who I continue to call my favorites and I'm astounded by everything they worked through to play for as long as they did.
Major League Baseball has more than enough money to fairly compensate Minor League Baseball players. It's about time more people joined this fight.