After months of stories about the miserable living conditions of many minor league players, to say nothing of their paltry salary, Major League Baseball is finally stepping up to accomplish the minimum.
All 30 teams will be responsible for providing minor league housing next season:
BREAKING: Major League Baseball teams will provide housing for minor league baseball players starting in 2022, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 17, 2021
The particulars are still being finalized, the Passan’s report indicates that owners voted in September to make a requirement across the league. Big league clubs will cover housing for minor leaguers, either by way of directly providing the housing or providing a full stipend for housing.
It bothers me that it took this long – and the aftereffects of a pandemic – to make this change, but I can still appreciate that it *IS* a positive step. A necessary one.
Minor league players have grown increasingly outspoken about their working conditions, criticizing teams for salaries that leave some below the poverty line and the financial issues that stem from having to provide their own housing for home games. The emergence of groups Advocates for Minor Leaguers and More Than Baseball, their use of social media to highlight the living conditions of minor league players and the willingness of players to talk on the record about their experiences illuminated issues about which players have spoken privately for years.
“This is a historic victory for minor league baseball players,” Harry Marino, the executive director of Advocates of Minor Leaguers and a former minor league player, told ESPN. “When we started talking to players this season about the difficulties they face, finding and paying for in-season housing was at the top of almost every player’s list. As a result, addressing that issue became our top priority.”
Next up, further wage increases, improved travel, full nutrition/meals, etc. There are competitive advantages here to be gained by organizations that simply, you know, try to treat their people really well. We talk almost daily about how critical player development is for an organization, so why wouldn’t you dedicate some additional incremental dollars here to try to get an edge? It’s the right thing, and it could also be the smart thing.
At least every org is taking care of housing now. That’s a start.