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Phillies, Mets High-A players team up to protest poverty wages in minor leagues

Numerous players from the Phillies’ High-A affiliate Jersey Shore BlueClaws and Mets’ Brooklyn Cyclones wore wristbands to protest and bring awareness to the low pay minor leaguers across all levels endure on a yearly basis.

Photo by Cheryl Pursell

The teal wristbands have #FairBall written across the front and are being worn by at least 10 players as the two teams play each other in a Saturday afternoon matchup in Brooklyn.

Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic first reported the news.

Players from both teams released a statement to The Athletic.

“Minor League baseball players have been severely underpaid and silenced for decades. Today, we are wearing #FairBall wristbands to show our solidarity with every fan and ally who is working to change that. We love the game of baseball, but it needs to evolve. It is time for every Minor Leaguer to be paid a living wage.”

The weekly minimum salary for High-A minor leaguers is $500 a week before taxes. Per The Athletic, players are paid twice a month for the length of the minor league season (around five months).

According to the organization Advocates for Minor Leaguers, the Phillies cover the full cost of the team hotel for the High-A Jersey Shore BlueClaws. For players on the Low-A Clearwater Threshers, Double-A Reading Fightin Phils and Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies provide an undisclosed housing stipend. Phillies players in extended spring training also receive a salary.

In late June when the Mets and Phillies met for a weekend series at Citi Field, Advocates for Minor Leaguers pointed out the disparity in how the two organizations approached housing its minor leaguers.

Following the tweet and a subsequent report by the New York Daily News, the Mets altered their housing policies. Per the New York Daily News, Mets High-A players no longer had to pay $10 a night for the team hotel and all other hotel costs paid to the team earlier in the year would be reimbursed. Players in extended spring training would receive back pay and Triple-A Syracuse players will receive a $300 a month housing stipend.

With the help of Advocates for Minor Leaguers, Mets players provided a list of suggestions to improve the organization’s system.

Advocates for Minor Leaguers also released a statement to The Athletic on Saturday:

“The players who donned wristbands in Brooklyn today will make less than $12,000 this year. The MLB teams they play for are worth well more than $2 billion. There is absolutely no excuse for this. We are proud of these players for standing up for themselves and each other. Their message should be heard loud and clear across this industry: it is time to pay Minor Leaguers a living wage.”

The 2021 federal poverty level for individuals is $12,880.

Non-40-man roster minor leaguers are not apart of the Major League Baseball Players Union. MLB’s longstanding antitrust exemption was partially repealed by the Curt Flood Act in 1998, but that only applied to Major Leaguers. MLB and its 30 owners still enjoy an an antitrust exemption over the Minor Leagues.


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