MLB Has Been At War With Minor League Baseball Operators And Players For A While

The war on the minor leagues continues.  

Major League Baseball’s apparent assault on the business of Minor League Baseball just didn’t suddenly appear overnight. Major League Baseball didn’t take well to lawsuits filed by minor league players charging the Major League Baseball industry with failing to pay minor league players a minimum wage. MLB owners have money and political clout and decided to get even with those disgruntled employees by using their money and clout to persuade members of Congress, who are not experts on many things, that members of Congress should see it the MLB owners’ way. In 2018, MLB got a big political boost from Congress in an effort to suppress minor league players’ salaries.

There was a change to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Baseball barons can pay players as little as $1,100 a month for four 40-hour or more monthly work weeks per the Save America’s Pastime Act.  Minor League players no longer have minimum wage or overtime protections and have no judicial recourse to reverse the decision. Major League Baseball owners can they pay Minor League Baseball players as little as possible. MLB wanted Arizona lawmakers in the 2019 spring training portion of the schedule to protect them against lawsuits for not paying minor leaguers during that period. Keeping Minor League players’ salaries low has been a main concern of Commissioner Rob Manfred and the 30 owners. Now the focus has changed. MLB wants to eliminate 42 minor league teams, mostly in the short season, summer entry leagues which would save the Lords of Baseball about $20 million annually. But in a twist, MLB owners would use some of the money saved by getting rid of about a 1,000 players’ salaries and give it to other minor leaguers to improve living standards for the seasonal workers. Major League Baseball owners really don’t want to invest money in research and development anymore.

Major League Baseball’s new prototype baseball, right, is shown next to a 2019 Spring Training game ball Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Clearwater, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)