In an extremely positive turn of events, MLB announced on Sunday that it would require teams to pay for housing for all minor leaguers starting in 2022.
For years, minor league players of all teams had to pay for their own housing, and with the low wages they earned from their club, they hardly had anything left at the end of the month.
The MLB salary system largely forgot about minor leaguers for years, but the league took a necessary and long overdue move to provide housing for them.
Minor leaguers often had to share a room, or a space, with several teammates.
The sleeping conditions are also below human standards in some occasions, as the players pile into small apartments and have to rest on air mattresses because they can’t afford anything better.
It’s only fair that MLB, a multi-billion dollar industry, provides a safer, better environment for players to focus on pursuing the bigs instead of making it to the end of the month.
The ideal scenario would be teams themselves to provide lodging rather than a stipend.
Exactly what teams will be required to do remains unclear. Players are hopeful teams are mandated to follow the lead of the Houston Astros, who this year provided lodging rather than a stipend. Finding a place to live, players say, is a problem on top of the financial burdens.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 17, 2021
Poor Living And Sleeping Conditions
Former pitcher Tom Koehler posted a picture of his first room as a minor leaguer on Twitter, for people to see the conditions that these players often have to endure in order to pursue their dream of reaching the major leaguers and providing for their families.
— Tom Koehler (@TKREFRESH22) October 17, 2021
ESPN writer Jeff Passan reported the news, and explained the details we know at this time:
“While MLB has yet to outline its plan formally, six team officials told ESPN they are starting to prepare to help house players across each of their four minor league affiliates. In mid-September, owners from the league’s 30 teams agreed unanimously to a plan that would provide housing for certain minor league players, the league said in a statement. Whether they will offer stipends that fully cover housing or provide the lodging itself has yet to be decided, sources said.”
In the past, minor leaguers didn’t want to publicly complain about their living situation and salary, probably because of fear of repercussions.
However, they have become increasingly outspoken about these matters in the past couple of years, especially since the pandemic left most of them without a minor league season.
Now, groups such as Advocates for Minor Leaguers and More Than Baseball often show the world the reality that some minor leaguers live in: low salaries that leave them in red at the end of the month, poor living conditions, and a failure to pay for any expenses.
A Historic Victory
Most of the baseball world is considering this news as a resounding victory for minor leaguers.
It’s clear that there is still a lot of work to do, most notably in the salary department.
The minimum salary of major leaguers is a little under $600,000, but that number is much, much lower for minor leaguers, especially in the lower levels.
The hope is that MLB attends the salary issue, as well as other situations involving minor leaguers, soon.
This is a good first step.