Ballplayer turned deputy Kurt Abbott gets arrested for DUI

8 Comments

Kurt Abbott, a utilityman who played for five teams from 1993-2001, was arrested Saturday in Florida and charged with driving under the influence, WPTV.com reports.

OK, so that’s probably not HBT-worthy in itself, but one has to admit that it is pretty interesting that Abbott was arrested by a co-worker. Abbott is a deputy at the Martin County Sherriff’s office, where he has worked since 2006.

According to the police report, Abbott was weaving and drifted onto the shoulder several times while driving his truck. He was also traveling at more than 60 mph in a 45-mph zone. Furthermore, after refusing a sobriety test, he was aggressive and cursed at the booking staff at the jail.

Unfortunately, there’s no mugshot here for Abbott; apparently they don’t release one when a law enforcement offices is arrested. Thus the baseball card instead.

Abbott, 42, hit .256/.305/.423 with 63 homers in 702 major league games over nine seasons. He had his best year in 1995, when he hit 17 homers as the Marlins’ primary shortstop. He also hit .274/.315/.433 in 94 games for the World Series champion Marlins in 1997.

Minor League Baseball teams sold over $70 million in merchandise in 2017

1 Comment

Every so often here, we discuss the criminally low pay of Minor League Baseball players. Most of them make less than $7,500 a year, which includes the regular season as well as spring training, playoffs, and offseason training. The abysmal pay forces minor leaguers to eat unhealthy food, live in cramped quarters, and forego consistent, quality sleep, among other things.

What makes this situation worse is that Minor League Baseball is a huge money-maker for their parent teams in Major League Baseball. Josh Norris of Baseball America reported yesterday that Minor League Baseball teams sold $70.8 million in merchandise in 2017. That represented a 3.6 percent increase over the previous record set in 2016. This is just merchandise. Now think about concession and ticket sales.

Minor League Baseball COO Brian Earle said, “Minor League Baseball team names and logos continue to be among the most popular in all of professional sports, and our teams have made promoting their brand a priority for their respective organizations. The teams have done a tremendous job of using their team marks and logos to build an identity that is appealing to fans not just locally, but in some cases, globally as well.”

You may recall that Major League Baseball had been lobbying Congress to pass legislation exempting minor league players from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. Doing so classified baseball players as seasonal workers, which means they are not entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay. That legislation passed earlier this year. Minor League Baseball generates profits hand over fist and it is now legally protected from having to share that with the labor that produced it.

Many points of divergence led us to this point, but the question is how do we change it? Minor leaguers are routinely taken advantage of because they don’t have a union. Compare the minors in baseball to the minors in hockey, where minor leaguers have a union. As SB Nation’s Marc Normandin pointed out last month, the minimum salary for American Hockey League players is $45,000 and the average salary is $118,000. They receive a playoff share of around $20,000, and receive health insurance that covers themselves as well as their families. Furthermore, the minor league hockey players’ per diem is $74, about three times as much as minor league baseball players’ per diem of $25.

Major League Baseball and its 30 teams have shown no inclination towards treating minor league players simply out of moral obligation or good will, so the minor leaguers need union coverage to force their conditions to improve. This could be as simple as the MLBPA expanding its coverage to the minor leagues because, after all, some minor leaguers do become major leaguers, right? Or the minor leaguers could themselves create a union. It’s easy to say, but tougher to do, which is why they still don’t have a union.

At any rate, every fan of baseball should be enraged when they read that Minor League Baseball keeps setting records year after year when it comes to selling hats and t-shirts, then refuses to share any of that wealth with the labor responsible for it. It’s morally reprehensible.