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(Bleacher Report)   Most minor league baseball players make less money than a fast-food worker, but they're FOLLOWING THE DREAM   (bleacherreport.com ) divider line
    More: Stupid, minor leagues, Married... with Children, Triple-A, sit-down restaurants, raw foods, spring training  
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750 clicks; posted to Sports » on 15 May 2014 at 1:49 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



36 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2014-05-15 02:49:54 AM  
So, you think it's stupid to follow your dreams if it requires sacrifice, subby?
 
2014-05-15 03:11:46 AM  

UncleStumpy: So, you think it's stupid to follow your dreams if it requires sacrifice, subby?


Subby got a STEM degree in college and knows what eigenvalues are so he naturally knows what's best for everyone.
 
2014-05-15 03:32:08 AM  

UncleStumpy: So, you think it's stupid to follow your dreams if it requires sacrifice, subby?


No, he's probably arguing that fast food workers make too much, therefore we should eliminate the minimum wage and bring back child labor laws to "help" the poor, put upon minor league baseball player.
 
2014-05-15 04:05:38 AM  
Generally minor league players drop out in their mid twenties if they haven't or have no chance to make it to the majors. There are plenty of people that age, myself included, making shiat for money. I however don't get to play a game I love or get nearly as much tang as these guys get.
 
2014-05-15 04:41:03 AM  
To be fair, subby, it feels out there. I mean, it's a major rush. I mean, it feels radical in kind of a tubular sort of way, but most of all, it feels out there.
 
2014-05-15 05:01:16 AM  
There was some hubbub about the possibility of minor league players suing for minimum wage violations. Which is an interesting idea, complicated by these things:

1) Most people in the minors were obtained either through the draft or international free agency. As such, they received signing bonuses, which are their major form of compensation through their minor league years. Only a few get 7 figures for those bonuses, with most getting low 6 figures (the slot value of every post round 10 pick is 100k). So the equation is more like $100k + the room/board/travel/living stipend the team gives you / the number of years you spend in the minors = your average salary. If you're a guy who spends multiple years in various forms of A ball, and wasn't a really high draft pick to begin with, you might be talking about trying to make $150k last 5 years, all things considered. The people who really get screwed in the current system are graduating seniors, who are often forced to sign for as little as 10k signing bonus, because they have no leverage as they can't return for their senior season.
2) The minor league clubs themselves don't pay the players. The parent club does. The players and coaches are essentially provided by the major league club, the minor league team is just in charge of the stadium and all that the stadium entails (concessions, parking, merchandise, providing entertainment, etc.). So do you target the major league clubs to have them pay more (when likely that would end up leading to them shutting down some minor leagues to save money) or do you try to say the owners of the affiliates should be paying something?
3) The MLBPA and MLB have negotiated these conditions time and time again. And there's not too many courts who itch to throw out a joint agreement like that.
 
2014-05-15 06:24:26 AM  

frozenhotchocolate: Generally minor league players drop out in their mid twenties if they haven't or have no chance to make it to the majors. There are plenty of people that age, myself included, making shiat for money. I however don't get to play a game I love or get nearly as much tang as these guys get.


I sort of doubt the dudes in short season rookie ball are swimming in tail and the huge majority of them will never make the majors.  I guess they're the actor/waitresses of the baseball world.

The teams should probably give them better post game spreads or food stipends, though.  If you're trying to train athletes you've got to feed them.
 
2014-05-15 06:40:36 AM  
They also have the option of going to college to work on their game.  Sure most teams don't offer full scholarships but at least they can have a degree to fall back on when they fail
 
2014-05-15 06:48:56 AM  

frozenhotchocolate: Generally minor league players drop out in their mid twenties if they haven't or have no chance to make it to the majors. There are plenty of people that age, myself included, making shiat for money. I however don't get to play a game I love or get nearly as much tang as these guys get.


Considering how many of these guys are married with kids, I can assure you that they are in no way swimming in tang.  Richmond used to have the Braves' Triple A team and I would see obvious groupies at the Diamond--after all, the players were one step away from the Show--but now that it has the Giants' Double A team the groupie interest level is almost nonexistent.  What's even sadder is that the current roster of the team contains three 30-year-olds.  One briefly made it to the Show, another was in Triple A for a little bit but the other has bounced between Single and Double A.  But they're obviously still chasing the dream even after the dream ditched them a while ago.
 
2014-05-15 06:57:56 AM  
i.imgur.com

^ doesn't care
 
2014-05-15 07:36:07 AM  
I can't get a job, I have mediocre skills in a kid's game.
 
2014-05-15 07:37:57 AM  
I'm saving this article for the next greenlight telling us how horribly the system is treating college athletes.
 
2014-05-15 07:53:24 AM  

lacydog: There was some hubbub about the possibility of minor league players suing for minimum wage violations. Which is an interesting idea, complicated by these things:

1) Most people in the minors were obtained either through the draft or international free agency. As such, they received signing bonuses, which are their major form of compensation through their minor league years. Only a few get 7 figures for those bonuses, with most getting low 6 figures (the slot value of every post round 10 pick is 100k). So the equation is more like $100k + the room/board/travel/living stipend the team gives you / the number of years you spend in the minors = your average salary. If you're a guy who spends multiple years in various forms of A ball, and wasn't a really high draft pick to begin with, you might be talking about trying to make $150k last 5 years, all things considered. The people who really get screwed in the current system are graduating seniors, who are often forced to sign for as little as 10k signing bonus, because they have no leverage as they can't return for their senior season.
2) The minor league clubs themselves don't pay the players. The parent club does. The players and coaches are essentially provided by the major league club, the minor league team is just in charge of the stadium and all that the stadium entails (concessions, parking, merchandise, providing entertainment, etc.). So do you target the major league clubs to have them pay more (when likely that would end up leading to them shutting down some minor leagues to save money) or do you try to say the owners of the affiliates should be paying something?
3) The MLBPA and MLB have negotiated these conditions time and time again. And there's not too many courts who itch to throw out a joint agreement like that.


To those points - signing bonuses only count as salary in the year they are recieved. Employers cannot amortize pay over multiple years for minimum wage violation purposes. To the second point, you sue both and let them face a joint judgement. Third, even collectively bargained contracts must meet minimum wage regulations.
 
2014-05-15 07:54:42 AM  
Also, non cash compensation does not count for minimum wage purposes. It has to be cash in the employees pocket which they can spend as they wish
 
2014-05-15 08:07:27 AM  
Or perhaps it's stupid that there are always people who respond with variations of this:

frozenhotchocolate: Generally minor league players drop out in their mid twenties if they haven't or have no chance to make it to the majors. There are plenty of people that age, myself included, making shiat for money. I however don't get to play a game I love or get nearly as much tang as these guys get.


...when it's pointed out what conditions are like for many players in minor league ball.

/subby
 
2014-05-15 08:08:31 AM  
In my first year, I was paid a mere $800 a month. After housing, taxes, clubhouse dues and insurance were taken out, that was down to $300.


I'm really sorry his experience was shiatty, but clearly he was playing for a lousy organization.  Every team in our collegiate summer league, and every minor league team we stay in regular contact with (most of the Tidewater area and the Triangle), have a host family program so that the players don't have to worry about that.  The college summer teams compensate the families directly; the minor league teams have various practices, but it's generally designed so that the player isn't breaking his bank trying to find four walls and a roof.
 
2014-05-15 08:16:17 AM  
"waanh, I can't make a living playing sports."
 
2014-05-15 08:17:44 AM  
When I was 18, I worked in a concession stand for a minor league team. We got to know a couple of the players and they were always extremely grateful when we 'found' an extra hot dog or two for them.
 
2014-05-15 08:20:40 AM  
20 years from now one guy will be telling his kids he played shortstop for the Louisville Bats and his next door neighbor is telling his that he worked the fry machine Wendy's. It's not always about the money
 
2014-05-15 08:25:38 AM  
Big farking deal.  I worked my arse off in school so I wouldn't have to slave away in the baseball mines of backwater America.   Poor life choices are poor.
 
2014-05-15 09:32:35 AM  
Let's see... when I was 21, I was a private in the Army. If I had to choose, I think I'd play baseball.
 
2014-05-15 10:05:02 AM  
I'm still kind of bummed that Dirk doesn't play here in Durham anymore.  Really nice guy, always great with fans.
 
2014-05-15 10:24:31 AM  
America, fark YEAH!!!!
 
2014-05-15 10:36:01 AM  
Maybe if they weren't such lolligaggers they'd make more.
 
2014-05-15 10:42:59 AM  
Indeed, you'd be lucky to get ignored. The alternative is a tidal wave of angry, bitter vitriol declaring you an ungrateful whiner with no concept of how hard the real world is-where working stiffs daily have their souls slowly snuffed out in torturous professions established by Satan himself.

Truth is, anyone who ever grew up playing baseball would go through exactly what Dirk is talking about in the article without giving it a second thought.  All that said, it doesn't make it right.  MLB is a multi-billion dollar enterprise.  Gone are the days where a guy like Bill Veeck would be lucky to get through the season without going bankrupt.  Even a "poor" team like the A's or Rays are raking in money (not as much as the Dodgers, but they get a nice cut of revenue sharing).  Sort of like the NCAA, this is an antiquated system.
 
2014-05-15 10:46:30 AM  
Oh, and just to add to my last post, the crazy thing is that Bob Stanley said in one article that he made about $500 a month in 1974 while he was playing in single-A.  It's insane that 40 years later, the guys are only making $850 a month at the same level.  I don't know how much an apartment cost in 1974, but I would imagine the guys back then were able to make those dollars stretch a heck of a lot more than now.
 
2014-05-15 10:54:21 AM  
Sorry to triple post, I asked my mom how much rent was her and my dad were married back in '74.  They lived in Arcadia, CA (now it's a rich area, but back then a very middle class city) and their rent was $190.

I couldn't imagine how much a kid playing for the Dodgers A affiliate in Rancho Cucamonga would play for an apartment near the ballpark.  I know my best friend and his wife rented a place in the area when they first got married ('05) that was 2 bedrooms and cost about $1600 month.

So if you think about it, in '74, Bob Stanley could have afforded an apartment on his own.  It would have been tight for him and it would have probably been better to have a roommate or two, but he could have done it.  There is no way in 2014 that a kid playing in San Jose or Rancho Cucamonga could even dream of having their own apartment.
 
2014-05-15 11:43:40 AM  
We lived above Will Middlebrooks for about 5 months starting like 2 weeks before he got called up from Pawtucket and made a splash.  Had a pretty sharp car and the apartments themselves were quite nice, so it isn't all bad.

Anyway a lot of these guys probably weren't going into rocket-surgery if not for baseball, and the ones who ARE brainiacs don't waste their lives chasing a major league contract if they know they don't have the physical abilities, so they get out and get decent jobs when they're still relatively young.

A lot of these guys would work low-wage jobs anyway.  In this case they work one that offers a lot of physical training perks and time outdoors which is nice.  Pay shouldn't be below minimum wage though.
 
2014-05-15 12:00:30 PM  

Super_pope: We lived above Will Middlebrooks for about 5 months starting like 2 weeks before he got called up from Pawtucket and made a splash.  Had a pretty sharp car and the apartments themselves were quite nice, so it isn't all bad.


Middlebrooks also got a $925,000 signing bonus.  The vast majority of guys playing in the minor leagues were lucky to get a 5-figure signing bonus (if that).  Most teams last year took 41 guys in the draft (granted not all of them sign, etc, etc).  Middlebrooks was the 6th guy selected by the Red Sox in 2007.  Just for perspective, Ken Roque was taken in the 10th rd (still amongst the top 10 picks by the Red Sox) and his signing bonus was $70,000 (which is still nice, but not like Middlebrooks nice).

Hayhurst, the guy who wrote the article, was drafted in the 8th rd and got a $15,000 signing bonus.
 
2014-05-15 12:29:53 PM  
Minor league ballplayers should be paid at least as much as college football athletes.
 
2014-05-15 12:45:03 PM  
Newsflash: All of sports is like this. A few people in the top 1% make all the money; anyone but those people make nothing. Front office, too.

Hell, some teams just hire seasonal workers for their front office.
 
2014-05-15 01:17:04 PM  

van1ty: "waanh, I can't make a living playing sports."


That's sort of my feeling. There's a big difference between "I can't make any money doing my favorite hobby, which is playing sports" and "I can't make any money because I have to work at Walmart, because it's the only place left in town."

//Unless your feel-good dream IS to work at Walmart, then I can't help you
 
2014-05-15 01:46:23 PM  

snowshovel: That's sort of my feeling. There's a big difference between "I can't make any money doing my favorite hobby, which is playing sports" and "I can't make any money because I have to work at Walmart, because it's the only place left in town."

//Unless your feel-good dream IS to work at Walmart, then I can't help you


Problem is, these fellows are having a hard time feeding themselves.  It might be kind of nice if the ML teams (who make millions upon millions) provide these dudes with room and board.
 
2014-05-15 02:09:45 PM  
I have to imagine it's somewhat difficult to stay in shape on a diet of top ramen and leftover stadium dogs.
 
2014-05-15 06:41:11 PM  

HotWingConspiracy: I can't get a job, I have mediocre skills in a kid's game.


van1ty: "waanh, I can't make a living playing sports."


Your corporate masters thank you for giving them leverage to drop your wages.

/After all, you don't bring them nearly as much money as grown men playing a kids' game.
 
2014-05-16 11:20:40 AM  

IlGreven: Your corporate masters thank you for giving them leverage to drop your wages.

/After all, you don't bring them nearly as much money as grown men playing a kids' game.


What a strange response.  Anyway not disputing that these guys ought to sue and win, but it seems like most of them are content to futilely chase the dream, so unless someone who's retired and still has standing wants to jump in and start a class action suit (or their is one not mentioned here) I dunno what you think I should be doing about this.
 
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