Minor league, minor pay, major BS
Major League Baseball players have longer careers and make more money than football players. They have a strong union and great benefits once they make it to the majors. Playing just one single day in MLB gets them full health care coverage for the rest of their lives. Just 43 days in the majors gets them into the pension plan. The biggest problem is all of the years it takes to get there. Even the best players are going to need several years of seasoning in the minor leagues. And just 10 percent of minor leaguers ever make it to the show.
Minor league life can mean not just long bus trips but extremely low salaries. “Minor league baseball players don’t get paid for spring training,” USA Today notes, even if they’re up with the big-league club. The minimum salary is just $1,100 a month, and they don’t get overtime, even though they put in many hours between games and practices. So there’s currently a lawsuit on this issue to get the minors to follow the Fair Labor Standards Act.
So yes, some of those minor leaguers who didn’t get big signing bonuses are literally making less money than burger flippers. Many of the players rely a lot on the $25 a day per diem they get on road trips. It seems ridiculous, given the big money in the MLB. As USA Today calculates it, “A major league organization with 250 players in its minor league system could give every single one of them a $30,000 annual pay spike for a total of $7.5 million, or roughly the cost of a decent fourth outfielder on the free-agent market.” If they can’t or won’t do that, at least they should comply with the FLSA rules other businesses do.