If the Yankees weren’t doomed before, they are now


No, the Yankees probably weren’t beating the Tigers four times in five days either. Still, Wednesday’s rainout made the assignment that much tougher.

– Because they’re playing four games in four days, the Yankees have lost the ability to pitch Game 4 starter CC Sabathia on three days’ rest in Game 7. At best, he’ll be available for a couple of innings out of the pen. Their Game 7 options would be Phil Hughes and his achy back, David Phelps, Derek Lowe or perhaps someone not on the roster. They’d have the option of disabling Hughes and activating Ivan Nova, though that would mean losing Hughes for the World Series.

– The Tigers, on the other hand, suffer from no such problems there. Their Game 4 starter, Max Scherzer, wasn’t a candidate to come back and pitch later in the series. Justin Verlander would start Game 7 on four days’ rest.

– One of the things that makes it more difficult to reel off a winning streak in the postseason is that teams often have to use up their quality relievers to get their wins. In Games 3 and 4 against the Orioles, the Yankees had Rafael Soriano throw 3 1/3 innings and David Robertson throw three innings. They may well need similar efforts from those two if they hope to win Games 4 and 5 against the Tigers. Now with no days off between Games 5 and 6, the Yankees will likely head back to New York with a tired pen if they do somehow manage to survive.

– Detroit’s pen, on the other hand, just earned a day off for unexpected ace in Phil Coke. Coke said he’d be ready to go tonight regardless, but after throwing 3 2/3 innings the previous four days, he probably needed the little break.

OK, so that’s pretty minor. The Game 7 issue looks like a backbreaker, though.If they could find out a way to eke out wins the next two days, the Yankees’ chances wouldn’t have looked so bad with Hiroki Kuroda and Sabathia back in the Bronx. Instead, it’d now be TBA versus Verlander.

Spending bill could exempt minor leaguers from federal labor laws

Scott Olson/Getty Images
1 Comment

Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post reports that, according to three congressional officials familiar with current talks, an upcoming spending bill could exempt minor leaguers from federal labor laws. This is an issue we have spent some time covering here. A bill proposed in 2016, H.R. 5580, would have amended language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 which would have made it so minor leaguers wouldn’t be protected under a law that protects hourly workers. There is also an ongoing class action lawsuit over unfair labor prospects.

As DeBonis notes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is among the representatives backing the measure. The provision specifically concerning minor leaguers didn’t appear in any of the draft spending bills, but DeBonis spoke to officials familiar with the negotiations under the condition of anonymity who said it was under serious consideration by top party leaders.

DeBonis got a comment from Minor League Baseball president Pat O’Conner. He said, “We’re not saying that [minor league pay] shouldn’t go up. We’re just saying that the formula of minimum wage and overtime is so incalculable. I would hate to think that a prospect is told, ‘You got to go home because you’re out of hours, you can’t have any extra batting practice.’ It’s those kinds of things. It’s not like factory work. It’s not like work where you can punch a time clock and management can project how many hours they’re going to have to pay for.”

O’Conner said as much in an interview back in December. It’s an extremely disingenuous deflection. O’Conner also said, “I don’t think that minor league baseball is a career choice for a player.” This is all about creating legislation that allows Minor League Baseball to keep money at the top, which is great if you’re a team owner or shareholder. If they could get away with it, every owner of every business would pay its employees as little as possible, which is why it’s important to have unions and people keeping an eye on legislation like this that attempts to strip laborers of their rights in the dead of night.

Minor league players need to unionize. Or, better yet, the MLBPA should open their doors to include minor leaguers and fight for them just as they would a player who has reached the majors. Minor leaguers should be paid a salary with which they do not have to worry about things like rent, electricity, food, and transportation. They should be provided healthcare and a retirement fund. And if anyone tries to tell you it’s not affordable, MLB eclipsed $10 billion in revenues last year. There’s plenty to go around.

The owners are banking on this legislation passing and labor still coming in excess due to young men holding onto the dream of making the major leagues. According to CNN, “far less than 10 percent of minor league players ever get the chance to make it to the major leagues.” Some of these players have forgone college to work in baseball. They arrive at the park in the morning and leave late at night, putting in far more than your standard eight-hour work day. Since their bodies are their vehicle for success, they have to exercise regularly and vigorously off the field while maintaining a healthy diet. (And teams are still reluctant to invest even the smallest amount of money to ensure their young players eat well.) Minor leaguers make tremendous sacrifices to pursue their dream and now Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying Congress to legalize taking further advantage of them.