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Thread: Article: Minor Leaguers Deserve Better

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    Players can be traded to another city/team, no say.
    I forgot about this one. Housing is more expensive when you're looking for monthly or weekly housing. Minor leaguers are moving around constantly.

    If the lawsuit starts gaining traction expect to see a settlement that doesn't cost much more than that $1M per team number. Lawyers get paid a lot more than minor league ballplayers.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    Comparing MLB to a free market makes no sense:

    1. Players are drafted, and stuck with that team for 8-12 years, like it or not.
    2. Players can be traded to another city/team, no say.
    3. Wages are capped, though this is not really that different than other big companies

    There is no way one can argue that MLB is a free market for the players.
    1. THe draft, trading, and wage scales are part of a collective bargaining agreement with the union. That point has already been made. In a way that is a market decision but it is fixed at the time of the negotiations. In other words, both sides come to the negotiation and bargain. They get some value here, give up some value there.

    2. All the lamenting is just ridiculous. These individuals make decisions: I was drafted in the 38th round of the MLB draft from Indiana St. University. SHould I play professional baseball? Yes or no. It would be interesting to get some actual data, but my guess is that minor league compensation does not even enter into the equation in that decision and the decision is made mostly by how the prospect feels about their ability to make it to the major leagues and their other employment options.

    3. I am going to repeat the underlying FACT that seems to escape most of you: If major league baseball or NCAA football or any other sport did not pay their "employees" enough there would be a labor shortage for them. Teams would struggle to fill their rosters and the quality of the product offered to PAYING fans would suffer. Then the teams would have to make decisions on how to reach their financial goals: raise wages to improve product, lower prices to increase demand, etc.

    4. Here is another fact of economics. When you are paid for a job, you are paid EXACTLY what you are worth. IF another employer offered you more you would leave for that job. So, if you are making $1244/month working for the public school system that is what you are worth. Your employer's responsibility to you ends after compensating you for your productive work.

  3. #43
    Senior Member All-Star Jim Crikket's Avatar
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    The argument that free market automatically protects all workers in an industry seems pretty absurd to me. Did free market economics protect child laborers? Minority workers? Using the collective bargaining argument might have some validity if the minor leaguers were actually members of the union that negotiates the terms of their work standards and pay. But they aren't.

    I'm probably more of a supporter of free market economics than 90% of the readers here, but even I can see that the market does not provide adequate protections for this particular group of workers. But I guess I'm just stupid, too. I'll live with that.
    I opine about the Twins and Kernels regularly at Knuckleballsblog.com while my alter ego, SD Buhr covers the Kernels for MetroSportsReport.com.

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  5. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    We disagree. When coaches make $5mM per year, and schools and the NCAA itself pocket millions from revenue sports, the players are underpaid, imo. You disagree. that's fine with me.

    As for minor league players.....they are underpaid, if you consider them assets you are investing in, not only how much money the minor league teams make.
    These are definitely complex issues, so different opinions are the norm, rather than the exception.

    Here is my two cents regarding both the MILB and NCAA:

    MILB

    The numbers I have seen are rookie league players make $1,150 a month and AAA players making about double that (on top of $25 a day for food). This check is only for the baseball season. It is true they get signing bonuses, which can be large for top picks. The average bonus for a 10th round pick is about $100K before taxes and agent fee's. I think the draft is 20 rounds. The monthly check has to be below minimum wage if you view "work" like a business would, the time at the ball-park, practice, and travel time would all need to be paid.

    I completely agree these players are assets of a team that should be invested in. If each team has roughly 150 player in the minors, $1M dollars would roughly double the salary of the rookie league players and provide a 50% raise to AAA players. If every 5-10 years that keeps one borderline player that is 22 with a kid from quitting and this kid turns out and make the big leagues......then it seems like it is a win-win.

    NCAA

    The NCAA is as close to a monopoly as it gets. If you are 18 and dream of being a professional, that is about your only option. In basketball you can go oversees like Brandon Jennings, but then people question your motives and in Europe, etc. they tend to play each player about 10 minutes a game. So it typically would hurt your draft stock and how much money you make.

    Consider a few things. The big schools make millions a year on their sports programs. Between tickets, TV deals, concessions, jerseys, etc. it is crazy. Their is a huge correlation between good sports and alumni donations as well. Texas, last year received $740M in donations, which was $300M more than any year in their history. Many attribute that to the resurgance of their football team. If I was Manziel I would feel exploited.

    A good documentary for anyone interested is called "Schooled: The price of college sports". It is on Netflix. This was eye opening to me for two reasons.

    1) It highlighted that many years ago, the NCAA was worried about lawsuits relating to sports injuries. So each player signs an agreement that in effect says they are students first and athletics are an extra-curricular activity. These players miss weeks of school at a time and are dumped the second they don't produce, so it is clearly the other way around. The issue is when a player gets a major injury such as paralysis on the field, the school is not liable for their medical bills and can and have actually removed the players scholarship in a few intances.

    2) The scholarship money does not cover the full cost of going to school (additional school fees, parking, etc.). A football player at UCLA receives a scholarship of $28K and the school esimates the annual cost of attending UCLA at $31K. So the players are $12K short over four years and are not able to get a job due to NCAA rules.

    Like I said, a complex issue. My take is the NCAA should at a minimum cover the full cost of school and any medical related issues players have. The way I think you allow players to benefit without actually paying them is allowing them to make money on their autograph, so long as it is not associated with the school. That is a voluntary exchange between the person signing and the person paying for the autograph. That way the market dictates that Johnny Manziel makes more than the badminton player.
    Last edited by tobi0040; 02-26-2014 at 12:16 PM.

  6. #45
    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shimrod View Post
    but the minor league players can quit and find better paying jobs anytime they like. Most should.
    This line of reasoning tends to bother me, whether talking about minor leaguers or anyone else in general. Everyone has a right in this country to quit their jobs at will. But at the same time, that does not end business responsibility to treat their employees fairly. Employment laws were created for such a scenario. MLB can skirt around them because there is a union and these rules are collectively bargained... except that in this case, the bulk of the MLB employees don't get to vote on said rules.

    I'm betting this is a game changer. Minor leaguers will either be allowed to unionize or the MLBPA will be forced to make them voting members. Otherwise, MLB's anti-trust exemption will be gone.

  7. #46
    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
    1. THe draft, trading, and wage scales are part of a collective bargaining agreement with the union. That point has already been made. In a way that is a market decision but it is fixed at the time of the negotiations. In other words, both sides come to the negotiation and bargain. They get some value here, give up some value there.

    2. All the lamenting is just ridiculous. These individuals make decisions: I was drafted in the 38th round of the MLB draft from Indiana St. University. SHould I play professional baseball? Yes or no. It would be interesting to get some actual data, but my guess is that minor league compensation does not even enter into the equation in that decision and the decision is made mostly by how the prospect feels about their ability to make it to the major leagues and their other employment options.

    3. I am going to repeat the underlying FACT that seems to escape most of you: If major league baseball or NCAA football or any other sport did not pay their "employees" enough there would be a labor shortage for them. Teams would struggle to fill their rosters and the quality of the product offered to PAYING fans would suffer. Then the teams would have to make decisions on how to reach their financial goals: raise wages to improve product, lower prices to increase demand, etc.

    4. Here is another fact of economics. When you are paid for a job, you are paid EXACTLY what you are worth. IF another employer offered you more you would leave for that job. So, if you are making $1244/month working for the public school system that is what you are worth. Your employer's responsibility to you ends after compensating you for your productive work.
    1. In response to this, the point of the lawsuit is that both sides don't get to negotiate. Minor leaguers aren't voting members of the MLBPA. Their rights conveniently get set aside because of this.

    2. I am not sure it is our place decide what does and does not go into that decision making process. It doesn't matter to me if the draftee cared about minor league compensation or not. I would guess there's a lot of reasons that vary from person to person. What matters, in the eyes of the law, is whether or not that person is being treated fairly. I'm not a lawyer, to be clear, but if the facts in this story are true, there's a very real case here.

    3. Just a moderator note here, but your point gets obscured when you start talking down to people in this matter. I think I get where you are coming from here, but I'm not sure I'd call it fact. Theory perhaps, but people retire all the time from the minor leagues. They are taking their shot at the jackpot essentially and are willing to put up with it to get their shot. Regardless of which, it doesn't entitle MLB the right to abuse that. As it is, when those minor leaguers play, people pay money to see them.

    4. This is not fact. If it were true, then people wouldn't be taking jobs for more pay all the time because they are paid exactly what they are worth. I've done it on more than one occasion. There's a lot more that goes into compensation, and in this particular case, minor leaguers don't have the rights to choose their employer as you or I do. They get drafted. That means that all their employers essentially conspire together and say that Joe Minor Leaguer has to work for the Minnesota Twins, or he doesn't get to work. Joe Minor Leaguer can either not work, or work for the Twins but not for anyone else, even though he's a WhiteSox fan and really wants to play for Chicago. That's why there is a CBA in the first place... and that brings us back to the fact that Joe Minor Leaguer is having his rights compromised by a union that he is not a member of.

  8. #47
    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
    The argument that free market automatically protects all workers in an industry seems pretty absurd to me. Did free market economics protect child laborers? Minority workers? Using the collective bargaining argument might have some validity if the minor leaguers were actually members of the union that negotiates the terms of their work standards and pay. But they aren't.

    I'm probably more of a supporter of free market economics than 90% of the readers here, but even I can see that the market does not provide adequate protections for this particular group of workers. But I guess I'm just stupid, too. I'll live with that.
    You are right, capitalism without morality is cannibalism... at least that's what my dad always said. The free market really isn't free in this case. I suspect this lawsuit will not end well for baseball.

  9. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
    You are right, capitalism without morality is cannibalism... at least that's what my dad always said. The free market really isn't free in this case. I suspect this lawsuit will not end well for baseball.

    Amen

  10. #49
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    The thing that bothers me most about the NCAA is how they prohibit the athlete from making money doing something else. If an amateur athlete is also a good musician and can make money selling records they should be allowed to do it.

    The "free market" types should be most upset about this. This is one reason MLB has trouble getting multisport athletes to play baseball. If you're not just rooting for laundry and want to see the best athletes at the top level you should want to see this situation changed. Better minor league pay will mean better baseball in the big leagues.

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  12. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJL44 View Post
    The thing that bothers me most about the NCAA is how they prohibit the athlete from making money doing something else. If an amateur athlete is also a good musician and can make money selling records they should be allowed to do it..
    Agreed. In the documentary "Schooled: the price of college sports" they gave a similar but slightly different example. The english student, even one on an academic full ride can make money on the side writing a book or a poem. But an athelete can't make money playing the sport, coaching that sport on the side, or even something completely unrelated such as working at a car wash.

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  14. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
    4. Here is another fact of economics. When you are paid for a job, you are paid EXACTLY what you are worth. IF another employer offered you more you would leave for that job. So, if you are making $1244/month working for the public school system that is what you are worth. Your employer's responsibility to you ends after compensating you for your productive work.
    People are not commodities. People are not bought and sold and their value is not determined by a monetary means. Slavery was rightfully abolished long ago. I get paid my wage because somebody, somewhere along the way decided that my work was worth that amount. That is very different than me being worth that amount.

    I think this is a critical concept that needs to be understood. When you start equating someone's worth with a monetary value it dehumanizes them. That makes it easier, especially if it happens frequently, to believe that it is OK to pay them poor wages. That they are below "us regular people" and therefore deserve their lot in life. Minor League players are worth just as much as major league players. Their skills might be less but that does not mean it is OK to pay them a demeaning wage.

    Just because something can be done doesn't mean that it should be done or that it is right to do it. Ethics exist for a reason. They are the fabric by which our society is held together.

  15. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtung View Post
    People are not commodities. People are not bought and sold and their value is not determined by a monetary means. Slavery was rightfully abolished long ago. I get paid my wage because somebody, somewhere along the way decided that my work was worth that amount. That is very different than me being worth that amount.

    I think this is a critical concept that needs to be understood. When you start equating someone's worth with a monetary value it dehumanizes them. That makes it easier, especially if it happens frequently, to believe that it is OK to pay them poor wages. That they are below "us regular people" and therefore deserve their lot in life. Minor League players are worth just as much as major league players. Their skills might be less but that does not mean it is OK to pay them a demeaning wage.

    Just because something can be done doesn't mean that it should be done or that it is right to do it. Ethics exist for a reason. They are the fabric by which our society is held together.

    Seriously? People are not commodites but their labor IS a commodity. And, in the market for baseball talent minor league players are worth much, much less than major league players. To even make this claim is pure ridiculousness. If you don't think so, compare the prices for a Miracle game at Hammond field and a professional baseball game, and compare the total revenue. If you tried to charge $53 for a seat for a Miracle game the total attendence would be.....zero. Valuation in economics is a completely subjective individual choice. PRICES are the marginal prices were the demand and supply curve crosses.

    Again, if you pay wages that are too low you will not be able to get enough labor. If you want to argue that there is a shotage of people interested in playing professional baseball then at least that is an coherent argument. It is just counter-factual. But there isn't. ANd there isn't a shortage of people wanting to play NCAA Division I football, basketball, or any of these other "exploited" people.

  16. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
    Again, if you pay wages that are too low you will not be able to get enough labor. If you want to argue that there is a shotage of people interested in playing professional baseball then at least that is an coherent argument. It is just counter-factual. But there isn't. ANd there isn't a shortage of people wanting to play NCAA Division I football, basketball, or any of these other "exploited" people.
    In a perfectly functioning market, you are correct. But an 18 year old kid or 16 year old international player that wants to play pro baseball has no choice. He doesn't ultimately get to pick between competing leagues that have to compete for his labor and drive up his price. You are applying market principles to a monopoly. If that kid had his pick between three competing leagues, all with ties to MLB clubs, then the league offering 1,150 a month to professional baseball players would have a shortage of labor.

    The same economic lesson explains why a bag of four peanuts are $4 on an airplane and why people drink before a Twins game at $4 a beer at a bar downtown, then go in the stadium and pay $8.
    Last edited by tobi0040; 02-26-2014 at 09:12 PM.

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  18. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJL44 View Post
    The thing that bothers me most about the NCAA is how they prohibit the athlete from making money doing something else. If an amateur athlete is also a good musician and can make money selling records they should be allowed to do it.

    The "free market" types should be most upset about this. This is one reason MLB has trouble getting multisport athletes to play baseball. If you're not just rooting for laundry and want to see the best athletes at the top level you should want to see this situation changed. Better minor league pay will mean better baseball in the big leagues.
    1. I have already addressed this. Most of the brand value of college sports is owned by the university/college. People pay to watch University of Minnesota football. Tens of thousands of people turn out to watch them play, even though they are at best a mediocre team. NOW, take the entire team (which probably includes a NFL first round draft pick) and make them a minor league, semi-pro team. That team would get 1/20th of the revenues of the U of M team.

    2. College athletes at division I schools are already compensated in the terms of full ride athletic scholarships.

    3. That there are restrictions of outside work and earnings is a function of the cheating that has gone on and continues to go on in college athletics.

    4. Lastly, you claim that better minor league pay would mean better major league players is hilarious. THe problem baseball has in relation to the "wages" of other sports is related to the signing bonuses paid to top draft picks, not the relatively trivial minor league salaries. Kohl Stewart chose to play minor league baseball rather than try to replace Johnny Football at A&M for 4 million reasons, not that he could make a killing in the lucrative field of playing minor league baseball.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    ,
    In a perfectly functioning market, you are correct. But an 18 year old kid or 16 year old international player that wants to play pro baseball, he has no choice. He doesn't ultimately get to pick between competing leagues that have to.compete for his labor and drive up his price. You are applying market principles to a monopoly. The same l
    Those aspects are independent of the salary of a minor league player and are determined by the collective labor agreement of professional baseball.


    And while this may limit the "free market" for professional baseball services, these services still must compete in the complete market for labor services. So, some players taht are drafted may choose an alternative career rather than take the low pay and limited chances of a professional baseball career. Most of these guys know that they have zero chance of making it to the big leagues so they go do something esle in their lives.

  20. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
    And while this may limit the "free market" for professional baseball services, these services still must compete in the complete market for labor services. So, some players taht are drafted may choose an alternative career rather than take the low pay and limited chances of a professional baseball career. Most of these guys know that they have zero chance of making it to the big leagues so they go do something esle in their lives.
    Nobody from the US is in the minor leagues for the paycheck. They are trying to be professional baseball players and that is the only way to do it. Even college players go to the minors. You could literally make way more than 6k a year on unemployment, food stamps, and section 8 housing.
    Last edited by tobi0040; 02-26-2014 at 09:26 PM.

  21. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
    Nobody from the US is in the minor leagues for the paycheck. They are trying to be professional baseball players and that is the only way to do it. Even college players go to the minors. You could literally make way more than 6k a year on unemployment, food stamps, and section 8 housing.
    So they are paid just fine.

  22. #58
    Head Moderator MVP glunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ex minor leaguer View Post
    We are forgetting about clubhouse dues, which range from $4-5 per day in rookie ball to $12-15 per day in AAA. That's well over $1000 per year directly out of the players' pockets. The clubs don't pay the clubhouse managers - the players and coaches do. Granted, the AA and AAA players get fed after games, but it's usually not very healthy food. So basically, all the players' meal money goes directly to the clubbies.
    Welcome new member. Are you a former minor league player?

  23. #59
    Head Moderator MVP glunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
    Those aspects are independent of the salary of a minor league player and are determined by the collective labor agreement of professional baseball.


    And while this may limit the "free market" for professional baseball services, these services still must compete in the complete market for labor services. So, some players taht are drafted may choose an alternative career rather than take the low pay and limited chances of a professional baseball career. Most of these guys know that they have zero chance of making it to the big leagues so they go do something esle in their lives.
    With all due respect, it seems to me that the fact that young ballplayers can choose other career paths does not justify a regime that is inherently anti-competitive. What if all the hospitals and health insurance companies conspired to limit doctors' compensation to $50,000 per year? Under your theory, the best medical students could "choose" to work for hedge funds, until the hedge funds implement a similar monopolistic conspiracy.

    It seems to me that a union that fails to adequately represent its members is an abomination, and it is inherently unjust for an employee to be bound by a union contract if the employee has no vote.

    I understand that in order to maintain competitive balance, ballplayers must be locked into negotiating with whichever team owns the rights to their services, and must be prohibited from participating in a free market. However, it seems to me that the scales need to be balanced by allowing them to form a separate union where they get to elect leaders and vote on contracts. Then if the owners are not willing to make a deal, the owners can close their minor league franchises. I support free markets, but the current regime seems totally one sided and the opposite of free when it comes to minor league players.

    It seems to me that there should be a basic right to sell one's services to the highest bidder and that this is fundamental to capitalism and free markets. If such right is going to be suppressed in the name of preserving competitive balance among the 30 ballclubs, then there must be some mechanism for protecting the employees from gross exploitation.

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  25. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlhouse View Post
    3. That there are restrictions of outside work and earnings is a function of the cheating that has gone on and continues to go on in college athletics.

    4. Lastly, you claim that better minor league pay would mean better major league players is hilarious. THe problem baseball has in relation to the "wages" of other sports is related to the signing bonuses paid to top draft picks, not the relatively trivial minor league salaries. Kohl Stewart chose to play minor league baseball rather than try to replace Johnny Football at A&M for 4 million reasons, not that he could make a killing in the lucrative field of playing minor league baseball.
    On 3 - I know why there are restrictions. I think they are too heavy handed. They should be able to find a way to allow some outside work without banning all of it.

    On 4 - Do you believe in the free market or not? There are most certainly players who could make the big leagues that turn it down because they can't afford to be poor for 5 years. Are you asserting that supply and demand is baloney?

    MLB is oversupplied with teenagers who can still live at home in the offseason and Dominicans with no other options. That doesn't mean it has cornered the market on athletes. You contradict yourself with your example - the only way to get a talented multisport athlete to play baseball is to give them a huge bonus. There are players almost, but not quite, as good as Stewart every year who turn down a 3rd round signing bonus to play football or basketball. I want to see guys like Kenny Lofton playing baseball, not going to Europe to play basketball.

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