For too long now, some of baseball's coddled minor leaguers have insisted that they have "rights" and should be "paid at least minimum wage by the multi-billion dollar business that both employs them and will one day depend on them." Fortunately, Congress is taking action.
Congressman Brett Guthrie and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos introduce the Save America's Pastime Act in House of Reps pic.twitter.com/AL8ohwqwuo— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) June 29, 2016
This might seem like a bad idea to you. Maybe you're one of those people on Twitter who just jumped right on the People Should Be Paid For Their Work At Least At The Minimal Legal Amount bandwagon. Shame on you. Here are some reasons why allowing teams to restrict minor league pay to below minimum wage is a good thing.
Bonus babies are already paid enough
The highest paid players in the draft get millions of dollars, you know. Millions. Unless I move to Zimbabwe, that's more money than I'll ever make in my life, and people are complaining that they're underpaid? The first pick in the draft has a slot value of $9 million. If you have that much, you don't even need all this:
Low-A ~$1,300/month— Tepid Participation (@TepidP) May 23, 2016
They're only paid during the season. Apr-Aug. https://t.co/r6Ir78NQBY
That would truly be a bevy of riches, and paying players twice like that is obviously unnecessary.
Close housing quarters make lifelong friends
Because most players don't get big bonuses, a lot of them live with many players crammed into a small apartment. This gives them lots of opportunity to become pals! It's like having three to five college roommates: fun for everyone. These are exactly the kinds of situations where lifelong friendships are born, and if players had more money, there wouldn't be nearly as many of them in these small spaces, and their social lives would suffer. Don't you want baseball players to be friends?
They can't eat that much bad food
Minor leaguers are young men, many of whom haven't yet developed good nutritional habits. A lot of times, all they want to do is scarf down as much bad food as possible. Fortunately, since the minor league system means their salaries are artificially depressed, they literally can't afford to eat all that much junk food. Sure, you'll occasionally hear about a player losing 30 pounds of muscle during the year, or dealing with diabetes, or having multiple surgeries that include intestine removal, but on the whole, these situations would be much worse if the players had more money.
They learn to play through adversity
It's a lot easier to play baseball when you've had a good night's sleep, or you've been eating healthy, balanced meals, or you feel secure in your financial future. But learning to play when none of those things are true is one of the tests of a true professional. Oh, you feel uncomfortable? Well, how comfortable are you going to feel stepping in against Clayton Kershaw with the game on the line?
Bonus: If America suddenly falls victim to a horrible famine, baseball players will be able to continue playing baseball, considering their long tradition of playing through malnutrition.
Minor League Baseball might be destroyed
Gary Ulmer, president of the Louisville Bats, said that "teams like the Louisville Bats, Bowling Green Hot Rods, and Lexington Legends may well disappear" if minor leaguers received the literal bare minimum pay allowed in the country. This is a good point. Minor league margins are razor thin, we assume, because we have no information on that, and having to pay the players more, which they wouldn't, since they're paid by the big league teams, would be devastating for them.
This is an excellent, foolproof argument, and it's one that bill co-sponsor Cheri Bustos has apparently disregarded, since she has already withdrawn her support for the bill. C'mon, Cheri. Don't be ashamed. Keep minor leaguers poor again. It's better for everyone.