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Major League Baseball demands that teams provide housing for smaller league players from 2022, sources say
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Major League Baseball demands that teams provide housing for smaller league players from 2022, sources say

Amid growing pressure from players and advocacy groups, Major League Baseball will demand that teams provide housing for smaller league players from 2022, sources told ESPN.

While MLB has not yet formally outlined the plan, six team officials told ESPN that they are beginning to prepare to help home players across each of the four minor leagues. In mid-September, according to sources, owners from the league’s 30 teams unanimously agreed on a plan that would provide housing for smaller league players. Whether they will offer scholarships that fully cover housing or offer the housing themselves has not yet been decided, sources say. A spokesman for MLB said the league is in the process of completing the details.

Smaller league players have become increasingly outspoken about their working conditions, and criticized teams for wages that leave someone below the poverty line, and the financial problems that result from having to provide their own homes for home games. The emergence of Advocates for Minor Leaguers and More Than Baseball groups, their use of social media to highlight the living conditions of minor league players, and the players’ willingness to talk about their experiences shed light on questions about which players have spoken privately for years.

“This is a historic victory for baseball players in the minor league,” Harry Marino, CEO of Advocates of Minor Leaguers and a former minor league player, told ESPN. “When we started talking to players this season about the difficulties they face, finding and paying for homes this season was at the top of almost every player’s list. As a result, the top priority was to address this issue.”

Momentum towards providing housing at the law level has already increased behind the scenes, sources told ESPN. Several teams discussed after the leadership of Houston astros, who this season covered accommodation for all its minor league players at home and on the road. Other teams offered rooms or scholarships with certain affiliates.

The total cost for a team to host all minor league players at home for a season, according to two leaders whose teams had explored doing so before the league fulfilled its mandate, is less than $ 1 million. Although the smaller leagues are particularly populated with small towns and lower rents, they also include some of the most expensive cities in the country, such as Brooklyn, High-A-affiliated with New York Mets, and San Jose, Low-A affiliate San Francisco Giants.

Even in places with lower rents, smaller league players often accumulate in small apartments and sleep on air mattresses because the salary cannot give more. Some players say they have spent nights in their cars or in stadiums when they could not afford a hotel. Others have trouble securing apartments, whether due to low income or non-existent credit, and spent a majority of their paychecks on hotels, where the team’s reduced prices hardly reduce the burden.

The physical toll is ready. The mental problems only aggravate the problems. When players are promoted, organizations will usually give them a hotel room for a few days and then expect them to arrange accommodation themselves. Between acquiring new accommodations and figuring out how to get out of old ones, players say housing is the most acute problem for smaller departures.

That would not be the case, according to players, if wages were higher. By signing bonuses between domestic and international players that peaked at $ 450 million in 2021, not everyone faces financial problems. But after tax, the majority of players’ salaries are small.

Salary increases for smaller executives this season increased the minimum wage from $ 290 to $ 500 per week in Class A, from $ 350 to $ 600 per week in Double-A and from $ 502 to $ 700 per week for Triple-A. For an entire season, Class A players receive at least $ 12,000, Double-A players $ 14,400 and Triple-A players $ 16,800. Some veterans – especially those with service in the major league – receive higher salaries.

“Most smaller executives earn less than $ 15,000 a year and will not receive their next paycheck until April,” Marino said. For the next six months, they will spend hours every day training – as required by the contract – while trying to balance second and third jobs to make ends meet. Like living six players in a two-bedroom apartment, this is a broken model from a bygone era. Smaller teammates will not rest until they get the annual salary they deserve. “

Minor league players were exempted from the federal minimum wage and overtime rules by Save America’s Pastime Act, a House proposal that failed under widespread criticism in 2016 but was enacted into the nearly 2,000-page law in an omnibus 2018 expense bill. they were underpaid and have not given overtime in the judicial system after the US Supreme Court denied MLB’s attempt to dismiss the case.

The housing mandate will be the latest change in a minor league system that has undergone a drastic reimagination over the past year. MLB cut 42 subsidiaries as part of a restructuring of the development management to 120 teams, and said that the players would get paid more, travel less and work under better conditions. Critics said the loss of associated baseball in smaller cities made the game less accessible and provided fewer opportunities for players to climb the major leagues.

The uprising strengthened the determination of More Than Baseball, which provided housing grants to minor league players this season, and Advocates for Minor Leaguers, which has built a foundation for support with a blocking of social media. Smaller league players, who are not part of a union, have discussed organizing to further help improve their working conditions, according to sources.

“It was this unparalleled behavior – minor league players uniting and exploiting their collective voice – that ultimately disrupted the status quo,” Marino said.

Although the Major League Baseball Players Association does not represent minor league players, some of its members have shown public support for the causes that the advocacy groups support. Multiple players, included Philadelphia‘s Andrew McCutchen, Baltimore‘s Trey Mancini, Chicago‘s Jason heyward and Los AngelesChris Taylor, has worn a bracelet distributed by Advocates for Minor Leaguers that bears the inscription “#FairBall”.

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