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Saturday BP: Being vocal works!

John Fisher reversed course, and opted to pay all of the Oakland A’s Minor Leaguers. It’s a good reminder.

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Hello, Happy weekend!

A little while ago, Oakland A’s owner John Fisher — the billionaire son of the founders of Gap — made the decision to cut payment to all of the organization’s Minor League baseball players. Since there won’t be a Minor League season, Fisher was able to do this legally. And since the labor laws protecting Minor League players are abhorrent, the unpaid A’s players would not only be unable to seek employment from another team, but would also be unable to collect unemployment.

People were rightfully upset and many (myself included) expressed that outrage publicly. And on Friday, Fisher announced that he was reversing course, and would be paying all of the team’s Minor Leaguers through the entirety of the nonexistent season, including backpay. Fisher revealed the news in an interview with the SF Chronicle’s Susan Slusser:

Fisher, who is worth $2.2 billion according to Forbes, apologized for halting the $400-a-week payments and pledged to continue the stipends through the rest of what would have been the minor-league season. The players will also be paid retroactively for this week.

“I’ve listened to our fans and others, and there is no question that this is the right thing to do,” Fisher said. “We clearly got this decision wrong. These players represent our future and we will immediately begin paying our minor-league players. I take responsibility and I’m making it right.”

There’s a very clear message here, and it’s not that Fisher is an open-minded man who saw the error of his ways. It’s that being vocal yields results. Fisher reversed course only because of the very loud public outcry. The Washington Nationals did something similar a few days ago, accelerated by the news that one of their own players — the always awesome Sean Doolittle — was going to start paying the players.

A few months ago the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers announced paycuts across the board for their employees, and, after facing strong public backlash, changed their mind.

Be vocal. It’s productive.

Of course, this is a message that transcends sports. This week we’ve seen hundreds, if not thousands of protests across the nation, as people stand up against police brutality and systematic racism.

Four days after the senseless killing of George Floyd, former officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with murder. It was another five days before Chauvin’s charge was upgraded to second-degree murder and the other three officers involved were charged with aiding and abetting.

While we can’t say for sure what would have happened in an alternate reality, that timeline suggests that the countless protests, phone calls, emails, Tweets, conversations, and other vocal forms of activism are responsible for at least a shred of justice.

So let this be a reminder to us all. Taking a loud stand isn’t always performative or virtue signaling. Being vocal works.

Did Barry Bonds hit a home run today?


June 6, 2000: Against the Anaheim Angels, Bonds hit a solo home run in the 3rd inning off of Seth Etherton. It gave the Giants a 3-0 lead, but they would lose 6-5. It was his 25th homer of the year, and his 5th in the last 4 games.

June 6, 2004: Against the Colorado Rockies, Bonds hit a solo home run in the 6th inning off of Scott Dohmann. It gave the Giants a 9-2 lead, and they would win 16-4. It was his 16th homer of the year.

Giants links

Have a great weekend everyone!