MLB views minor league players as trainees.
Baseball is a 19th century game that seems to have problems adopting a 21st century foothold and it could be because Major League Baseball owners are stuck in 19th century thinking. Without minor league baseball, there is no Major League Baseball as the owners know it. Players need to gain professional experience because MLB cannot depend on a college system to train players like the National Football League or the National Basketball Association. There is no junior system producing players to send to the National Hockey League. There are no team sponsored soccer academies. MLB owners seem to have difficulty understanding that minor league players should get a living wage. MLB owners really don’t want to pay above the minimum for what they term seasonal employees and now throw another word in the mix, trainees.
Elise Bloom, a lawyer for Major League Baseball said in federal court that minor league players should not be paid during spring training. “During the training season, the players are not employees, and would not be subject to either the Fair Labor Standards Act or any state minimum wage act,” Bloom told the court. “It is the players that obtain the greater benefit from the training opportunities that they are afforded than the clubs, who actually just incur the cost of having that training.” MLB is in court because in 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States allowed a class-action lawsuit to proceed from minor-league baseball players who allege they are being paid less than the minimum wage. In 2021, Denise Martin, a senior vice president at NERA Economic Consulting, wrote to the court that players participating in spring training receive a $2,200 weekly value from their teams. Martin claimed that would be the cost of attending a prospects camp. MLB owners clearly don’t like their employees.