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MLB minor league housing plan has flaws, says advocacy group

“Every player deserves the privacy of his own room,” says Advocates for Minor Leaguers

2021 Senior PGA Championship Media Day Photo by PGA of America via Getty Images

Major League Baseball’s plan to require teams to provide housing for minor league players was announced in November, and seen as a step in the right direction toward fair treatment of labor. But an advocacy group on Thursday pointed out a few loopholes in MLB’s plan.

Advocates For Minor Leaguers, a group that helped publicize unacceptable living conditions and substandard wages for players that helped lead to this new housing policy, issued a statement detailing three specific flaws of said policy:

  • Two players in each bedroom
  • Not accommodating players with spouses and children
  • Using host families or hotel rooms as a substitute for housing

“In light of these three potential loopholes — and for as long as the policy fails to ensure that each and every player will receive adequate housing accommodations — all minor league players should have the right to opt out of team-provided housing and instead receive a housing stipend or reimbursement,” Advocates for Minor Leaguers said in a statement. “It is unacceptable that the current policy allows for neither stipends nor reimbursement.”

MLB’s housing policy requires that minor leaguers — players not on a 40-man roster — at all domestic levels and spring training complexes be provided furnished housing within reasonable, commutable distance from the minor league park, and that all utilities are paid for by the team. The policy also requires each player get their own bed — which seems telling that this needed to be codified, given previous conditions — with no more than two players in each bedroom.

The minor league advocacy group says each player deserves their own room, and that players should have been consulted in developing the policy.

“The shortcomings of the new league-wide policy demonstrate once again why it is imperative that Minor League players be given a seat at the table. Private discussions between partners will always yield better results than policy changes implemented unilaterally in order to quell public pressure,” said Harry Marino, executive director of Advocates for Minor Leaguers. “Without a seat at the table, minor league players remain committed to holding MLB teams publicly accountable for their conduct throughout the 2022 season, especially when it comes to housing.”

Links

  • David Schoenfield at ESPN looks at the next few potential Hall of Fame classes, and thinks it will take Chase Utley (eligible in two years, on the 2024 ballot) some time before getting into Cooperstown.
  • “The Hall of Fame gallery isn’t anything. Having Clemens or Bonds in or out wouldn’t sharpen any ambiguities about their conduct. I don’t know if anything can do that, but I do know that passive-aggressive avoidance via ballot ain’t it,” wrote Steven Goldman at Baseball Prospectus.
  • MLB won’t mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for minor league players in 2022, but will do so for all on-field staff, per Jeff Passan at ESPN. In a statement, MLB said, “Our expert consultants have advised that fully up-to-date vaccination of all on-field staff and others with close player contact provides a safer environment in which to prevent infection and transmission. Reasonable accommodations will be considered for staff members who receive an exemption to this requirement. Such exemptions will be considered on an individual basis and in accordance with state law. We continue to strongly encourage vaccination among Minor League players and make resources available to Minor League teams and players toward that goal.”