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Thursday, June 03, 2021

A’s promise changes for minor leaguers after sandwich snafu

Reacting to their latest public relations stumble, the A’s said they fired a third-party food vendor that provided “completely unacceptable” meals to players in its minor-league system, photos of which went viral over social media Tuesday.

Advocates for Minor Leaguers, a group that pushes for better conditions for minor-league baseball players, posted photos of the food - a barely filled sandwich and tortilla - writing:

“Players in the Oakland A’s organization shared these photos of their recent post-game meals. No employer would serve these meals to employees they care about. Why are the A’s serving them to their future Major Leaguers?”

The tweet had nearly 4,000 retweets as of Wednesday afternoon. The A’s provide a statement acknowledging problems with food being served to their minor-league players.

“Several weeks ago, we were made aware of the postgame meals being served to players in our Minor League system,” the A’s statement said. “Those options were completely unacceptable and by no means meet our quality standards. We immediately ended our relationship with that third party vendor.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 03, 2021 at 09:32 AM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, minor leagues

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   1. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 03, 2021 at 12:05 PM (#6022312)
As a freelance musician, I can confidently say those minor leaguers are eating like KINGS!
   2. pikepredator Posted: June 03, 2021 at 12:38 PM (#6022318)
Isn't that photo from FyreFest?
   3. JL72 Posted: June 03, 2021 at 12:57 PM (#6022323)
Why are the A’s serving them to their future Major Leaguers?


Because the vast majority won't actually be Major Leaguers?
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2021 at 01:13 PM (#6022326)
Has anyone who's ever held a job NOT been served crappy sandwiches at some work event? Why is this news?
   5. Darren Posted: June 03, 2021 at 01:27 PM (#6022328)

Has anyone who's ever held a job NOT been served crappy sandwiches at some work event? Why is this news?


Because these are pro athletes.
   6. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: June 03, 2021 at 01:46 PM (#6022333)
I make good money and if my boss said "hey I'm giving you free food" then gave me that I'd be appalled. With one or two exceptions I suspect the A's minor leaguers are making a lot less than me.

It's fascinated me for a long time that MLB teams skimp on this stuff. The cost of providing quality, healthy food to minor leaguers would be virtually insignificant to the bottom line of a big league club and I think would be a hell of a lot better in the long run for the team. You'd keep players healthier and for the rare ones who do become big leaguers you could teach them proper eating habits and hopefully avoid Pablo Sandovals of the world.
   7. Ron J Posted: June 03, 2021 at 01:53 PM (#6022334)
#6 There was a fascinating story years ago when Manchester United was touring the US. They were being interviewed and the topic of US food came up. Ryan Giggs said something to the effect that he hadn't considered trying anything their dietician didn't approve first.

Yes. Top (at that time) team and we're currently talking about the minors. Still, a good diet is one of those, "can't hurt and it's not expensive" things with pro athletes. And if it's well prepared there isn't any sacrifice in eating well.
   8. GregD Posted: June 03, 2021 at 02:03 PM (#6022337)
I don't think MLB could be any clearer in demonstrating that they aren't interested in minor league baseball and minor league players. I'm sure they'd be perfectly fine with scroungy independent leagues giving them a chance to get the once every 4 years player who develops from no prospect to high prospect, but it seems clear they think they need 1) a taxi squad team that is in playing shape, 2) a serious training camp where all the prospects train all the time and play teams from other nearby training camps, and not much else.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2021 at 02:05 PM (#6022339)
Because these are pro athletes.

Yes, but my colleagues and I are far more valuable workers than 99.9% of minor leaguers. None of us get paid $1000/month.
   10. pikepredator Posted: June 03, 2021 at 02:06 PM (#6022340)
Totally agree, Jose. While there are still some athletes cut from the Babe Ruth cloth, the vast majority of successful athletes pay attention to the way they fuel themselves, and there are countless stories (I have my own) of "once I adjusted my food intake I had more energy/clarity/strength gains/etc."

I would expect the A's to be on the front of that kind of wave, along with the Rays.
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2021 at 02:08 PM (#6022341)
I don't think MLB could be any clearer in demonstrating that they aren't interested in minor league baseball and minor league players.

Of course they don't. They pay these guys $1000/month. Except for the bonus-babies and a few fast-risers, these guys are 100% fungible and replaceable.
   12. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: June 03, 2021 at 02:19 PM (#6022346)
Yes, but my colleagues and I are far more valuable workers than 99.9% of minor leaguers. None of us get paid $1000/month.


Leaving aside the point as to whether or not any business as wealthy as a major league franchise should feed this garbage to their employees on a consistent basis, there's still the point that these are professional athletes, not office workers. Their development and productivity is far more tied to their diet than someone who works in an office. So even if you think the players should just shut up and get over it, this is still an issue of a team being absurdly cheap to their own detriment.
   13. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: June 03, 2021 at 02:27 PM (#6022348)
It's fascinated me for a long time that MLB teams skimp on this stuff. The cost of providing quality, healthy food to minor leaguers would be virtually insignificant to the bottom line of a big league club and I think would be a hell of a lot better in the long run for the team. You'd keep players healthier and for the rare ones who do become big leaguers you could teach them proper eating habits and hopefully avoid Pablo Sandovals of the world.
The Dodgers instituted a nutrition program across their minor league clubs 5 or 6 years ago. Obviously, their minor league output has been pretty fantastic during that time period, but it is hard to know how much is attributable to nutrition vs the other changes they made during the same time frame. At the time, they said that the cost to implement the changes wasn’t significant so there wasn’t a reason not to try it.
   14. JL72 Posted: June 03, 2021 at 02:32 PM (#6022349)
Obviously, their minor league output has been pretty fantastic during that time period, but it is hard to know how much is attributable to nutrition vs the other changes they made during the same time frame.


I would guess that these changes go hand-in-hand. A franchise that looks after the nutrition of its minor league players is going to do other good things for them as well.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2021 at 03:00 PM (#6022355)
Leaving aside the point as to whether or not any business as wealthy as a major league franchise should feed this garbage to their employees on a consistent basis, there's still the point that these are professional athletes, not office workers. Their development and productivity is far more tied to their diet than someone who works in an office. So even if you think the players should just shut up and get over it, this is still an issue of a team being absurdly cheap to their own detriment.

I don't think they should shut up, I just don't think it should be national news, or a labor issue. The caterer has sucked recently, you complain, and if enough people complain, they switch caterers. I'm sure the A's didn't intentionally order crappy sandwiches.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2021 at 03:03 PM (#6022356)
I would guess that these changes go hand-in-hand. A franchise that looks after the nutrition of its minor league players is going to do other good things for them as well.

I would imagine a lot of teams address nutrition on an as needed basis. 18-22 year old males probably don't want to eat what nutritionists would recommend. If the guy isn't carrying extra weight, don't hassle him.
   17. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: June 03, 2021 at 03:17 PM (#6022360)
I don't think they should shut up, I just don't think it should be national news,


Sure I suppose. But that's true of very very many things in our information age.

or a labor issue. The caterer has sucked recently, you complain, and if enough people complain, they switch caterers.


I mean it IS a labor issue. It's not "12 year olds working 15 hour shifts" but it's a condition of employment not being met.

I'm sure the A's didn't intentionally order crappy sandwiches.


I don't think they did it intentionally but they are responsible for it, they hired the caterer and as in all superior/subordinate relationships the superior bears the blame. Years ago I worked for ARAMARK at a large University. We had pretty significant requirements on what we had to provide the students in the dining halls. The A's should have been telling the caterer what criteria they had to meet. Getting back to your first point I'd bet part of the reason these photos got shared is that this wasn't the first or even second or third time this has been what was served.
   18. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: June 03, 2021 at 03:19 PM (#6022361)
I would imagine a lot of teams address nutrition on an as needed basis. 18-22 year old males probably don't want to eat what nutritionists would recommend. If the guy isn't carrying extra weight, don't hassle him.


Making it available is a start though. There is something to be said for teaching that young player how to eat. You don't have to force him to avoid McDonald's but giving him access to this stuff is a good thing.

Also, while you may be right about what 18-22 year olds want I'll note that the kids I coach, when they get to high school they get pretty serious about what they eat. It's pretty amazing. It's not like when I was a kid. Also, nutritionists aren't dumb, they know how to recommend things that young men want to eat but are still healthy.
   19. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: June 03, 2021 at 03:21 PM (#6022362)
Yeah, "healthy" nutrition has evolved past the bland chicken, broccoli, and rice stage.
   20. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 03, 2021 at 03:25 PM (#6022363)
I'm sure the A's didn't intentionally order crappy sandwiches.

I used to work at a job where one of my responsibilities was, if we had a sizable number of people working into the evening, I ordered dinner for them. If I got everyone dinner that consisted of American cheese sandwiches on white bread, they would have screamed at me, and rightfully so.

Somebody in the A's organization is making these decisions. Somebody is ordering food and knows (or should know) exactly what that food consists of.
   21. Der-K's tired of these fruits from poisoned trees Posted: June 03, 2021 at 03:25 PM (#6022364)
As a former low quality freelance short form improviser - among the lowest of the low on the ladder of entertainers! and definitely not an athlete! - I was fed better than this at shows.
--
I'd like for someone more knowledgeable than I to chime in here, but I believe that a number of teams have developed nutrition programs for their minor leaguers in recent years - it would seem to have a reasonably high ROI (even as we here might underrate the costs of implementing it).
--
I'm sure the A's didn't intentionally order crappy sandwiches.

I'm sure they didn't. Though, tbh, I'd question whatever decision making process in selecting meal plan options that could lead to an outcome like this being a possibility.
--
I bet that the pandemic is causing a lot of teams to think about the relative value of gameplay versus other means of prepping prospects. Early results, imo, indicate that playing in games matters quite a bit. (Minor league play this year has been really, really sloppy as people shake off rust.) Now, if you are MLB as a collective, you probably want to shift as much of the costs of development as possible onto other sources - indy ball, the NCAA, reduced bonuses/talent acquisition costs - as benefits are largely zero sum for the industry. But - for an individual team? - I think these things matter a lot and the minors provide pretty good bang for the buck as a form of investment.
   22. caspian88 Posted: June 03, 2021 at 03:47 PM (#6022369)
The A's are now shifting to a failed prospect-based diet to save on costs while providing sufficient protein to their prospects.

Meanwhile, they've requested comped tickets to the finest Las Vegas restaurants and buffets to "evaluate the quality of nutrition available for Athletics players as part of our due diligence in evaluating all possible relocation targets in the event that the City of Oakland fails to turn over control of the city charter to us."
   23. Brian C Posted: June 03, 2021 at 04:53 PM (#6022385)
I'm sure it was an innocent mistake, and the minor leaguers just got fed from the truck that was supposed to be delivered to the prison instead.
   24. Tin Angel Posted: June 03, 2021 at 05:09 PM (#6022387)
The A's are now shifting to a failed prospect-based diet to save on costs while providing sufficient protein to their prospects.


Soylent Green is failed A's prospects?
   25. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: June 03, 2021 at 06:25 PM (#6022401)
The Dodgers instituted a nutrition program across their minor league clubs 5 or 6 years ago.

Interesting how this didn't happen until after Lasorda retired!
   26. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 03, 2021 at 06:28 PM (#6022404)

I'm sure the A's didn't intentionally order crappy sandwiches.

Yeah, it's easy to see how something like this happens and shouldn't be that big a deal. A bit strange that it got to the point of posting pictures of the food on Twitter before it got fixed.
   27. DL from MN Posted: June 04, 2021 at 09:42 AM (#6022496)
Soylent Green is failed A's prospects?


Soylent Green and Gold
   28. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 04, 2021 at 10:07 AM (#6022501)
A bit strange that it got to the point of posting pictures of the food on Twitter before it got fixed.

Par for the course in contemporary Social Media Outrage culture, it would seem, especially from an account called Advocates for Minor Leaguers.
   29. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 04, 2021 at 10:33 AM (#6022504)
Yeah, it's easy to see how something like this happens and shouldn't be that big a deal. A bit strange that it got to the point of posting pictures of the food on Twitter before it got fixed.

When you're dealing with a bunch of beancounters whose hobby is scavenging the curb for pennies, how else would it ever get fixed?
   30. Traderdave Posted: June 04, 2021 at 10:39 AM (#6022506)

The Dodgers instituted a nutrition program across their minor league clubs 5 or 6 years ago.


A buddy of mine has a son in Dodgers system and he confirms this, and in general is impressed by how well the Dodgers treat their minor leaguers. The players are of two minds: they are glad they get decent food & accommodations but getting traded to the Pirates would put them in the big leagues much sooner.
   31. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 04, 2021 at 10:48 AM (#6022511)
That's not too surprising, since the Dodgers' original Vero Beach Spring training complex was light years ahead of any other team's, in terms of bringing the Major and minor leagues' teams together in one centralized location.
   32. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: June 04, 2021 at 11:41 AM (#6022521)
Soylent Green and Gold



mmm... Adam Piatt burger
   33. A triple short of the cycle Posted: June 04, 2021 at 05:40 PM (#6022588)
As an A's fan, I will say this is pathetic and embarrassing.
   34. tonywagner Posted: June 04, 2021 at 06:43 PM (#6022597)
I don't think they should shut up, I just don't think it should be national news, or a labor issue. The caterer has sucked recently, you complain, and if enough people complain, they switch caterers. I'm sure the A's didn't intentionally order crappy sandwiches.


Seems likely that the social media attention would make this resolution much more likely and timely. It’s not hard to imagine minor league team officials brushing off these concerns for a long time without it.
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 04, 2021 at 09:54 PM (#6022629)
Seems likely that the social media attention would make this resolution much more likely and timely. It’s not hard to imagine minor league team officials brushing off these concerns for a long time without it.

Sure, it also makes it much more likely the team will retaliate against whoever made this public. Taking to Twitter to resolve employment disputes is going nuclear.
   36. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 04, 2021 at 11:55 PM (#6022689)
Snapper defends processed cheese for dinner.
   37. Hank Gillette Posted: June 05, 2021 at 12:34 AM (#6022696)
The caterer has sucked recently, you complain, and if enough people complain, they switch caterers. I'm sure the A's didn't intentionally order crappy sandwiches.


No, but they probably hired the caterer with the lowest bid.
   38. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 05, 2021 at 05:25 AM (#6022705)
I don't think they should shut up, I just don't think it should be national news, or a labor issue.


This is an article from the SF Chronicle, so by definition not national news.
   39. McCoy Posted: June 05, 2021 at 05:57 AM (#6022706)
As someone who has worked in contract catering, operated employee cafeterias, provided meals, and done various other catered events for years I can safely say this isn't a one off abomination but something you could expect to see on a regular basis.

It's possible the A's got swindled or scammed by if they did it's likely because they negotiated a very cheap deal. Either that or something went seriously wrong at the catering facility.
   40. McCoy Posted: June 05, 2021 at 06:00 AM (#6022707)
I'll also add that no matter how amazing the food is provided by the employer the employees will grow to hate it. I mean your company could literally buy out French Laundry, bring Keller and his entire team onto their campus, have them prepare meals on a daily basis, and after about 4 months you'll hear the employees complaining about the food.

When you take away choice all the petty grievances and little mistakes build up.

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