Ever wonder why minor league baseball games are so cheap? Well, it probably has something to do with the fact that minor league baseball players are some of the worst paid athletes. To put things in perspective, a minor league baseball player can expect to earn between $3,000 to $7,500 for a five-month season which includes intense physical training, 60-hour workweeks, and little to no chance of promotion. With wages like that, players have no other option but to share an apartment with many other players and sleep on air mattresses (for lack of money to buy real furniture). Though the league gives players $25 per diem, players often end up relying on cheap and unhealthy food due to their grueling hours and exhaustion .In addition, the league insists that a typical season also includes “training” months in which players are required to work for no pay.
An average major league player, however, can earn as much as $30 million per year.
How has the league gotten away with this?
A clause in the 1938 Labor Standards Act exempts Major League Baseball because players do not endure a regular 40-hour workweek. In addition, the league is considered an amusement establishment that “does not operate for more that seven months in any calendar year.”
There are currently two cases open against the league, Senne vs. MLB which claims that the MLB has violated several federal minimum wage law, and Miranda vs. Selig, which claims that the minimum wage violation allegations stem from an old exemption from federal antitrust law. Both cases are having a hard time making any positive headway.
Players could join together to form a union, but many fear that they would be silenced or replaced for standing up against the league, thus jeopardizing their boyhood fantasy of going major.
The Save America’s Pastime Act, introduced to the House by Republican Brett Guthrie and Democrat Cheri Bustos on June 24, 2016 would remove the League’s exemption from having to obey minimum wage laws. The suit would also require the league to back pay minor league workers based on overtime laws.
Do you think minor league baseball players should at least receive minimum wage and overtime?
*image by Unsplash
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