Waldon: Minor-league ballplayers open up about the realities of their pay, and its impact on their lives

From Emily C. Waldon at The Athletic on March 15, 2019:

When Congress was presented with the 2,232-page, $1.3 billion spending package to vote on last March, one of the defining pages, located deep on page 1,967, could have easily gone unnoticed.

The “Save America’s Pastime Act” was the result of lobbying by Major League baseball — lobbying that cost the league roughly $2.6 million over two years — to legalize an exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. This exemption would allow the league to deny players overtime pay “for a workweek of 40 hours irrespective of the number of hours the employee devotes to baseball-related activities.’’

The proceedings caught the players’ attention. They were watching and discussing — but by necessity, their discussions took place behind closed doors. As much as they understood the effect this bill would have, the ramifications of making their opinions public were enough to keep them quiet.

Minor-league players will be the first to tell you: Discussing their wages publically isn’t a risk most are willing to take.

Read the full article here (subscription required): https://theathletic.com/830452/2019/03/15/i-cant-afford-to-play-this-game-minor-leaguers-open-up-about-the-realities-of-their-pay-and-its-impact-on-their-lives/

Originally published: March 15, 2019. Last Updated: March 15, 2019.