A Major League Baseball lawyer argued in federal court that minor league players shouldn’t be paid during spring training.
As if Major League Baseball didn’t have enough going on right now. Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported that Elise Bloom, a lawyer for a firm advising MLB on the current lockout, had this to say about minor league players:
“It is the players that obtain the greater benefits from the training opportunities that they are afforded than the clubs, who actually just incur the cost of having to provide that training,” Bloom said. “During the training season, the players are not employees, and would not be subject to either the Fair Labor Standards Act or any state minimum wage act.”
I’m being punked, right?
There’s just no way a lawyer argued in federal court that minor league players should just be happy getting the experience of spring training. They shouldn’t also get paid for it. Because that would be completely ridiculous.
Bloom’s main argument relies on the fact that the players get more value out of their presence in camp than the teams do. So let’s ignore the fact that getting a look at minor leaguers is one of the most interesting parts of spring training for fans.
And let’s also ignore the fact that those players are putting blood, sweat, and tears into improving during camp. Minor league baseball players are an investment for big league clubs. Teams don’t sign players to bring value on day one. They’re signed for what they could become a few years down the line.
Do minor leaguers get more value out of spring training than teams do from those minor leaguers? Probably. But the flip side is that when teams develop good prospects, they get that value back on affordable pre-arbitration contracts.
So to act like minor leaguers are just lucky to be at spring training for the learning experience like some Fortune 500 interns is just the latest in a long history of slaps to the face.
Minor league players are already underpaid as it is.
To argue that they should lose another month’s worth of pay is as close to true evil as MLB is capable of.