Major League Lawsuit over Minor League Pay
Maybe I have this idealized vision of what MiLB is supposed to be, based on my life and experience in watching both the leagues and Bull Durham about a thousand times. But whatever they are supposed to be, they are, at the end of the day, a weeding out process. A massive try out, if you will, for the Major Leagues. I get that most Minor League players aren’t going to make it. But they have a dream and they have a desire to try. And they have a passion for a game that they believe will be rewarded once they pay their dues and earn the respect of the game. Even players who never make the Big Leagues almost always receive something back from the game to which they have given so much of themselves.
So I was a little surprised when I came across the story of Garret Broshuis, a one-time Giants prospect and currently Baseball America writer, who spent six seasons in MiLB making it to AAA. He didn’t have Big League Stuff, and so he got his law degree and went to work for a law firm, stronger for the experience and probably with some great stories to tell. Now, as a lawyer, he has decided to make his bones with a class action lawsuit claiming that he – along with 30 other Minor Leaguers from every teams system – were victims as MLB was in violation of wage and overtime laws.
Can Baseball afford to pay minor leaguers more? Sure. Does overtime matter in sports? I wouldn’t think that for the players it would. And while I get that the game is work -and lots of work at that – it is entertainment, not vital work to the stability of the nation. If Broshuis wins, what happens to the guys who remain?
There’s two possibilities. The first is that MLB sees the errors of its ways and decides to raise wages and benefits for Minor Leaguers, gives them more per diem and upgrades the accommodation standards. Everybody is happy and the Minor Leagues flourish and rake in money hand over foot.
Or… the costs get eaten by the MiLB teams and leagues, meaning that they have to cut corners elsewhere, including cutting back on transportation – possibly by contraction of the leagues? – or taking Greyhound instead of charters?
Less MiLB teams would mean less Minor League players, fewer dreamers, fewer guys in the pipeline for Coaching jobs and Managing positions at every level, from Little Leagues to the Majors.
The new Commissioner has put his weight behind the new “One Baseball” initiative, in which he wants MLB to be more supportive of the little Leagues and lower levels of Amateur baseball. what better way is there than to have men who played the game professionally – even if they don’t make the Majors – in turn teaching the next generation of players? Why not make it a part of the game to teach MiLB players the importance of teaching baseball in the event that they don’t make it? Maybe identify and give special training to those who show a aptitude for teaching and coaching?
In the meanwhile, a former Minor League lawyer will sue Baseball for money and to make a name for himself. but will it improve the game? Will it make more opportunities, or less?