Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Some players say Los Angeles Angels failing in treatment at minor league level, as GM vows to address it

Kieran Lovegrove, an active pitcher for the Double-A Rocket City Trash Pandas, said he is living with six other teammates in a three-bedroom apartment, sleeping on a twin mattress, with one person sleeping in the kitchen and two others in the living room. Others like Shane Kelso—who spent part of the 2021 season with the low-A Inland Empire 66ers, another Angels affiliate, before retiring due to the living conditions for players—said four teammates bunked in a camper van in a trailer park while others lived out of cars.

“It’s gotten to the point now where there are guys who are in a serious mental health crisis because of how stressful money is here,” Lovegrove told ESPN. “I really do think it affects not only their play on the field, but I think it affects quality of life overall. We’re reaching a point now where this is actually becoming detrimental to the players’ overall health, and the owner not addressing it is [the organization] actively saying that they don’t care about the health of their players.”

Kelso said he was losing $1,000 a month from his savings and would have been broke before the end of the season had he not decided to retire; rent for his housing cost $2,000, but the team paid him $1,600 a month.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 25, 2021 at 11:45 PM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, minor leaguers

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Rally Posted: July 26, 2021 at 08:39 AM (#6030385)
The pay is ridiculously small. They could make more money flipping burgers. But $2000 seems excessive for San Bernardino. If you want to live by yourself I can see online a few studios near the stadium for around half that. And cheaper still to get a slightly larger place with a roommate.
   2. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: July 26, 2021 at 09:02 AM (#6030392)
In the scope of the financial power of an MLB club, how expensive could it be to feed and house your players well? Seems like it would be a small thing, but owners love to penny pinch.

On the other hand, most minor leaguers will never make it to the big leagues, let alone play there for a long time, and some of them seem to expect to make a comfortable living out of playing minor league baseball.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 26, 2021 at 09:26 AM (#6030396)
Kieran Lovegrove, an active pitcher for the Double-A Rocket City Trash Pandas, said he is living with six other teammates in a three-bedroom apartment

This is how most 18-24 y.o. males who don't live with their parents live. My first apartment after business school (when I was making a heck of a lot more than these guys) was three guys in a 1 BDR. One guy slept in the dining room, and two of us shared a bedroom. Six guys in a three bedroom is far from a hardship.
   4. bunyon Posted: July 26, 2021 at 09:27 AM (#6030397)
If you’re only willing to spend on guaranteed major leaguers, you may as well not have a minor league system. Yeah, most of the mental health you’re ruining would never have made it LA. But some of it you would have. They don’t have to spend and players are free to retire. But, geez, it seems foolish on the team’s behalf
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 26, 2021 at 09:29 AM (#6030398)
If you’re only willing to spend on guaranteed major leaguers, you may as well not have a minor league system. Yeah, most of the mental health you’re ruining would never have made it LA. But some of it you would have. They don’t have to spend and players are free to retire. But, geez, it seems foolish on the team’s behalf

Oh c'mon, they're not ruining anybody's mental health. If it's so bad, the players should just quit. Maybe if half their minor leaguers walked away, they'd reconsider the pay.
   6. Rally Posted: July 26, 2021 at 09:45 AM (#6030400)
California minimum wage is $14 per hour. That’s about 2400 per month for a full time schedule. Do the players work 40 hours? Maybe not but with their travel schedule they certainly are tied up for at least 40 a week.

Just pay them the same rates you have to pay for hot dog venders at the park already.
   7. Rally Posted: July 26, 2021 at 09:49 AM (#6030401)
Certainly there’s nothing new here. Minor leaguers have been poorly paid as long as they’ve been playing. Dirk Hayhurst wrote a few books about it. Torii Hunter at one point was sleeping in his car. (Hunter Jr. is now teammates with some of the players mentioned in this article, but daddy can help him out if he wants after pulling in 9 figures for his baseball career).

Doesn’t make it right.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 26, 2021 at 09:52 AM (#6030402)
California minimum wage is $14 per hour. That’s about 2400 per month for a full time schedule. Do the players work 40 hours? Maybe not but with their travel schedule they certainly are tied up for at least 40 a week.

Just pay them the same rates you have to pay for hot dog venders at the park already.


I agree with that, but until that's the law, the best way to raise wages is for a bunch of minor leaguers to walk away; especially guys who've gotten 6 figure bonuses. You see it all around America now; firms are raising wages and offering sign-on bonuses b/c they can't find enough workers. As long as there's a throng of guys willing to play in milB for peanuts, wages won't go up.
   9. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: July 26, 2021 at 09:57 AM (#6030403)
the best way to raise wages is for a bunch of minor leaguers to walk away;

I don't know what "best" means here, but it's certainly not the most effective way. We just witnessed a contraction of the minors that makes it clear that MLB views these guys as disposable, that the loss of lots of minor leaguers is considered zero sum.
   10. Rally Posted: July 26, 2021 at 10:01 AM (#6030404)
There are too many players who would take their place anyway. Walking away is not going to do it, because they’ll never get enough players to go that route and make MLB care.

Going the public pressure route probably has a better chance, if they can get enough media to air their greivances.
   11. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 26, 2021 at 10:19 AM (#6030407)
We're becoming a nation of the rich and the poor. This is just another data point.

   12. Tin Angel Posted: July 26, 2021 at 10:47 AM (#6030411)
If you want to live by yourself I can see online a few studios near the stadium for around half that. And cheaper still to get a slightly larger place with a roommate.


They may not want to live there all year, and the renter may not want to do six month leases. Not to mention, in most places you have to show your income and that you can easily cover the monthly rent. You aren't going to get a $1200 a month apartment when your income is $1400 or whatever. "Oh, and by the way, I probably only want to stay six months."
   13. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: July 26, 2021 at 10:54 AM (#6030416)
Hmph! Back in my day, we usta sleep behind the ol' ballpark on thorns and broken glass, and wild animals would attack during the night and steal our femurs! The only food we got was wood and rocks! And if anybody complained, Coach would feed 'im into a wood chipper...and the poor guy would still have to play a full doubleheader the next day! Yessir, we was real men in them days...!
   14. RickG Posted: July 26, 2021 at 11:26 AM (#6030422)
Is there any reason why (as an example) Arte Moreno couldn't simply buy or build a nearby apartment building and charge any player who wants to live there 1/2 their weekly salary as rent? Basically, the college dorm model?

You don't HAVE to live there, but it's a good deal and solves some major problems the player might have. And on the flip side, even though the initial outlay and upkeep are more expensive than just paying the players, they are paying you back, and you could always sell the building if the team moves (or keep it as a source of rental income).
   15. Rally Posted: July 26, 2021 at 11:52 AM (#6030426)
They may not want to live there all year, and the renter may not want to do six month leases. Not to mention, in most places you have to show your income and that you can easily cover the monthly rent. You aren't going to get a $1200 a month apartment when your income is $1400 or whatever. "Oh, and by the way, I probably only want to stay six months."


This is true, but it is hardly a new problem. Teams will offer some assistance, like recruiting host families that offer a room to a player. They might work out deals with some nearby apartments, maybe guaranteeing the rent for a certain period but knowing they might have a lot of changes to who actually lives there during the season, since players get promoted/demoted/traded/released all the time. Details probably vary for every city.

I don’t think the default solution is to force a poorly paid player to pay a huge premium for his short term rental.
   16. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 26, 2021 at 01:32 PM (#6030457)
We're becoming a nation of the rich and the poor. This is just another data point.
The middle class has gotten smaller because more people have gotten richer, rather than fallen into poverty. Not career minor league baseball players, but lots of others, and minor league baseball isn’t really supposed to be a career.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 26, 2021 at 02:40 PM (#6030472)
The middle class has gotten smaller because more people have gotten richer, rather than fallen into poverty.

BS. Real median hourly wages went up a grand total of 8.8% between 1979 and 2019, $21.14 to $23.00. For men it went down 3%, for blacks it was up 1.2%, for hispanics it was down 2.2%. Wages at the 90th %-ile went up 41%.

The middle class has had effectively no wage growth for 40 years.

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R45090.pdf
   18. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 26, 2021 at 04:25 PM (#6030507)
The middle class has had effectively no wage growth for 40 years.
The middle class, like everyone else, is far better off than it was decades ago, when a middle class family might have one car, one phone (landline), one TV, no computer & no internet. Again, it is misleading to focus on those who remain in the middle class without acknowledging that the middle class is shrinking because more are getting richer, not because they are falling into poverty:
Since 2016, the United States has had more wealthy households than middle‐​class households and the share of low‐​income households has reached a historic low.

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2018, over 30 percent of U.S. households earned over $100,000 (i.e., the upper class). Fewer than 30 percent of households earned between $50,000 and $100,000 (i.e., the middle class). The share of U.S. households making at least $100,000 has more than tripled since 1967, when just 9 percent of all U.S. households earned that much (all figures are adjusted for inflation).

In 2018, the share of households earning less than $50,000 (i.e., the lower class) dropped below 40 percent for the first time since the U.S. Census data on this metric started to be collected in 1967. Back then, 54 percent of households earned less than $50,000.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 26, 2021 at 04:49 PM (#6030522)
The middle class, like everyone else, is far better off than it was decades ago, when a middle class family might have one car, one phone (landline), one TV, no computer & no internet. Again, it is misleading to focus on those who remain in the middle class without acknowledging that the middle class is shrinking because more are getting richer, not because they are falling into poverty:

Ummm, the top-30% is professional or upper-class. The middle 50% would be middle class, and they've seen no growth in income.

Also, that middle class family in 1979 got by on one salary, so had a whole nother person to do household tasks that now have to be purchased in the market (cooking, day care, cleaning, laundry). They also had a pension, could send their kids to college without anyone going into debt.

Wages have been stagnant while the cost of housing, education, and health care are way up. That median family now has to supply twice as much labor to live effectively the same lifestyle, their kids can't afford to form families b/c of housing and education costs, and in return they get some tech gadgets.

It's insane to say the middle class are better off than they were. That's the bougie privilege of the upper class speaking. If I was given the choice to live the rest of my life, and raise a family as a median income American in 1979 or 2020, I'd pick 1979 in a heartbeat. WTF cares about cell phones and internet?

   20. Hombre Brotani Posted: July 26, 2021 at 05:14 PM (#6030539)
I agree with that, but until that's the law, the best way to raise wages is for a bunch of minor leaguers to walk away;
That doesn't work for baseball. It's an extremely specialized market controlled by a cartel that dictates wages.
   21. Hombre Brotani Posted: July 26, 2021 at 05:16 PM (#6030541)
The middle class, like everyone else, is far better off than it was decades ago
There's a huge difference between conveniences and opportunities.
   22. Lassus Posted: July 26, 2021 at 08:57 PM (#6030604)
Maybe if half their minor leaguers walked away, they'd reconsider the pay.

Someone else always has to suffer to teach capitalists to be actual human beings.
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 27, 2021 at 10:55 AM (#6030693)
That doesn't work for baseball. It's an extremely specialized market controlled by a cartel that dictates wages.

If the minor leaguers can earn more money in other fields, MLB still has to compete with that. Even a fully nationalized Health Service (where private medicine was illegal) couldn't pay Drs. $30,000 a year, because they have skills that can earn more that that even outside their "extremely specialized market".

Someone else always has to suffer to teach capitalists to be actual human beings.

If an owner was completely altruistic, and planned to give away all his wealth, why would he pay minor leaguers more rather than giving the extra money to charity?

Minor leaguers are speculators hoping to cash in on a lottery ticket to great wealth and fame. Why are they deserving of a subsidy? Why does no one care about subsidizing aspiring actors and singers? Everyone is totally fine with them waiting tables to pay the rent.

Hell, I'd rather them pay the ground crew and stadium staff of the minor league teams more. Those guys aren't chasing a pot of gold; they're just trying to make ends meet.
   24. Rally Posted: July 27, 2021 at 02:04 PM (#6030731)
If the minor leaguers can earn more money in other fields, MLB still has to compete with that.


They really don't. Some minor leaguers who got their college degrees could get entry level professional jobs, maybe 50-75k. Even the ones with the least marketable skills outside of baseball could at least make minimum wage in fast food. (currently $14 per hour in California).

But still every draft teams will sign a few college seniors a $1000 bonus and send them to less than minimum wage jobs. And plenty of players will take it, because they want to play pro baseball.

I'm not suggesting minor leaguers should be getting rich and have pensions and job security in this field. Just pay them the same as the ticket takers and hot dog venders, who are covered by minimum wage laws.


   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 27, 2021 at 02:48 PM (#6030735)
I'm not suggesting minor leaguers should be getting rich and have pensions and job security in this field. Just pay them the same as the ticket takers and hot dog venders, who are covered by minimum wage laws.


I agree. No reason they should be exempt from minimum wage laws.

But still every draft teams will sign a few college seniors a $1000 bonus and send them to less than minimum wage jobs. And plenty of players will take it, because they want to play pro baseball.

They're just being dumb.
   26. DCA Posted: July 27, 2021 at 02:58 PM (#6030739)
They're just being dumb.

Are they? They aren't maximizing their lifetime earnings but they are getting an experience that few others have, and that may increase their social capital by a meaningful amount. Most of them are probably washed out in a year or two and on to their real career with nothing but a short delay.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 27, 2021 at 04:53 PM (#6030763)
Are they? They aren't maximizing their lifetime earnings but they are getting an experience that few others have, and that may increase their social capital by a meaningful amount. Most of them are probably washed out in a year or two and on to their real career with nothing but a short delay.

If that's how they view it, sure, but lots and lots of them persist in trying way past the point where it's obvious they have no hop. I also highly doubt playing a season or two in rookie league and low A "increase their social capital".

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Backlasher
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogKansas City Royals' Salvador Perez breaks Johnny Bench's catcher record with 46th HR
(18 - 10:04am, Sep 21)
Last: Jack Sommers

NewsblogRemorseful Thom Brennaman deserves to work again now; He’s already suffered 14 months of hell
(69 - 10:02am, Sep 21)
Last: Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB)

NewsblogIsraeli baseball team wins silver in European Championship, its best result ever
(3 - 10:00am, Sep 21)
Last: SoSH U at work

NewsblogNBA 2021 Playoffs+ thread
(4447 - 9:57am, Sep 21)
Last: Willard Baseball

NewsblogVeteran catcher Alex Avila to retire at end of year
(16 - 9:54am, Sep 21)
Last: salvomania

NewsblogEmpty Stadium Sports Will Be Really Weird
(14040 - 9:45am, Sep 21)
Last: sanny manguillen

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1894 Discussion
(9 - 9:02am, Sep 21)
Last: DL from MN

Sox TherapyIt's A Sprint, Not A Marathon
(23 - 8:36am, Sep 21)
Last: pikepredator

NewsblogThe A’s Rebuild Is Coming
(10 - 7:52am, Sep 21)
Last: bfan

NewsblogShohei Ohtani has sore arm, might not pitch again this season
(39 - 7:44am, Sep 21)
Last: homerwannabee

NewsblogWEEKDAY OMNICHATTER wants you to believe in yourself, for September 20, 2021
(11 - 12:09am, Sep 21)
Last: Howie Menckel

Gonfalon CubsThis all sucks
(34 - 10:30pm, Sep 20)
Last: Brian C

NewsblogGuardians to promote outfielder-turned-reliever Anthony Gose
(17 - 10:20pm, Sep 20)
Last: Mayor Blomberg

NewsblogKyle Boddy, director of pitching, among minor league staff leaving Cincinnati Reds
(3 - 9:49pm, Sep 20)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogMets targeting A’s Billy Beane as candidate to run baseball operations
(20 - 8:06pm, Sep 20)
Last: Infinite Yost (Voxter)

Page rendered in 0.3784 seconds
48 querie(s) executed