Happy Wednesday, Athletics Nation!
Imagine you’re a barista. I mean, you may be—and if so I thank you for providing the life-giving essence of my favorite daytime beverage. But if you aren’t, imagine you are. And imagine that every coffee shop in the country pays exactly the same wage of $13 per hour. No matter how many shops you apply to or how good you are at making coffee, you will gross $104 for an eight hour shift.
Thankfully, we have antitrust laws that prohibit this sort of anticompetitive practice. But Major League Baseball was granted a special antitrust exemption 100 years ago that allows team owners to cooperate in fixing wages for their workers across the industry. Major League players have strong union representation that fights for fair wages and working conditions. But minor leaguers don’t, and all 30 MLB owners have agreed that their minor leaguers should be paid as little as $400 per week on a seasonal basis.
But change may be coming.
Evan Drellich at The Athletic reported yesterday that the Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating the antitrust exemption with no small degree of prejudice. Committee members from both political parties wrote to the non-profit Advocates for Minor Leaguers requesting information on how the antitrust exemption affects minor league pay, reductions in the number of MiLB affiliates, and the international amateur system.
Senate majority whip Dick Durbin said in a statement, “We need to examine how Major League Baseball’s 100-year-old antitrust exemption is affecting ... the ability of Minor League ballplayers to make a decent living.”
Past efforts in Congress have fallen short of repealing the exemption, which resulted from a 1922 Supreme Court ruling. But perhaps MLB has finally perturbed enough politicians with its player lockouts and broadcast blackouts to finally spur lawmakers into meaningful action that will improve the lot of the minor leaguers who are critical to sustaining the big leagues.
Drellich provides some great historical detail on this issue and I highly recommend checking his piece out. Also, Jeff Passan of ESPN posted a Twitter thread that lays out potential pros, cons, and pitfalls of various scenarios such as a repeal of the exemption and the unionization of minor league players. Both are highly illuminating. Let us know what you think is the best way forward to give minor league players a fair shake!
- Hall: Game #76: A’s almost get payback but fall short 2-1 against Yankees
- Hall: A’s injuries: Stephen Piscotty activated, Jonah Bride goes on IL
- Kawahara: Former A’s minor-leaguer embraces his better future as Yankees’ bullpen catcher ($)
- Killion: With critical ballpark vote ahead for A’s, a convenient ‘leaving for Las Vegas’ leak ($)
- Wirth: Yankees’ dugout plays weird game by throwing gum on field vs. A’s
MLB News & Interest:
- Lockard: MLB Draft 2022: Explaining bonus pool allotments, competitive balance rounds and more ($)
- Adams: Freddie Freeman Reportedly Changing Agencies
- ESPN: Los Angeles Angels RHP Archie Bradley out after fracturing elbow in dugout fall during Seattle Mariners brawl
- Adams: Braves Place Kenley Jansen On Injured List Due To Irregular Heartbeat
- Franco: Bryce Harper To Undergo Thumb Surgery
- Drellich: Senate Judiciary Committee targets MLB’s antitrust exemption ($)
- Today in Baseball History
Best of Twitter:
Tony Kemp on Mark Kotsay and the struggles of the season.
.@Athletics utility-man @tonykemp joined us in studio at MLB Network to discuss playing under Mark Kotsay, becoming a veteran leader for a rebuilding squad and the biggest struggles as an MLB player.#MLBCentral | @AlLeiter22 | @RoFlo pic.twitter.com/eDnB2mpAkt— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) June 28, 2022
Montas exits after six innings. Final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 105 pitches, 63 strikes. This makes 12 of 16 starts this season he has received one or zero runs of support while in the game. A's trail 2-0.— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) June 29, 2022
Surely, the lad’s luck will improve.
BABIP is .216..league average .295 https://t.co/p1m16Mn9ky— Vince Cotroneo (@vincebaseball) June 29, 2022
June 30th. #BiggerThanBaseball pic.twitter.com/sr6WWDq2dC— Oakland 68's (@Oakland68s) June 18, 2022
The SF BCDC vote is one day away!
In a nutshell, A’s are hoping that 18 of 27 SF BCDC commissioners will vote to remove HT’s Port Priority Use (PPU) designation to clear way for residential/commercial development https://t.co/CUroEcosmG— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) June 28, 2022
A'S RECENT MOVES: OF Stephen Piscotty off A’s IL, IF Jonah Bride on A’s IL, OF Mickey McDonald to MID, RHP Jake Walkinshaw to LAN, IF Jalen Greer to STK, IF Wilson Alvarez & C Carlos Franco to ACL A’s, LHP Sam Selman to A’s, LHP Jared Koenig to LV… https://t.co/joKXkzbDRy— Athletics Farm (@AthleticsFarm) June 29, 2022
Is this Hal’s rookie card? How does that work for hot dog guys?
New cards just arrived pic.twitter.com/zIT0rundZZ— Hal the Hot Dog Guy (@AsHotDog) June 28, 2022
Agree w/ Melissa Lockard!
This woman should be on the Canadian dollar. National treasure. https://t.co/mjVoxWzt5V— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) June 29, 2022