The Rays have lost four 1-0 games in August

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It has been observed many times over the years that the results of one-run games hinge largely on luck. A bad bounce here or there. One pitch released just so. One little flare. Just one! A gorp, a groundball — a groundball with eyes — a dying quail, just one more dying quail … and a tie game can turn into a one-run win or loss.

It observed just this morning by one of our fine readers that the Orioles have been crazy-lucky in this regard this year, as they have won 13 straight one-run games. “The Orioles are so lucky that they crap leprechauns,” as it was so eloquently put.

The opposite can be said about the Tampa Bay Rays.  They lost 1-0 last night. Which is nothing new, as they have lost four 1-0 games in the month of August alone. That’s the most 1-0 games a team has lost since 1969. It’s the most an AL team has lost in a month since 1955.

Now, my earlier comments notwithstanding, that’s not all about luck. Losing a 7-6 ballgame is different than losing a 1-0 ballgame in some ways, it seems. When you get shut out a lot it suggests your offense stinks. And the Rays offense kind of stinks compared to the rest of the league. Behind them in the AL are only the Royals, the Indians the Mariners and the A’s.

The Rays are a good team, of course. But this is really something.

MLB now trying to get minor leaguers exempted from minimum wage law at the state level

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In recent years, Major League Baseball spent significant amounts of money lobbying Congress to exempt minor leaguers from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. They succeeded last year, as minor leaguers are now considered seasonal workers and as such are not owed minimum wage or overtime pay.

MLB is not yet done attacking minor leaguers. Ben Giles of the Arizona Capitol Times reports that MLB is trying to get Arizona lawmakers to exempt players from state minimum wage law. A proposed bill, HB 2180, is being sponsored by Rep. T.J. Shope (R – Coolidge) and would protect MLB from lawsuits, past or present, for not paying minor leaguers at least minimum wage during spring training. Minor leaguers already do not get paid for their work in spring training, so this is simply a preemptive maneuver by MLB to protect itself from potential lawsuits. As Giles notes, HB 2180 would enshrine the exemption in federal law in Arizona’s state statute.

Shope said, “I think it’s just trying to clear up what MLB considers a gray area on their blank. … My assumption is they obviously do have a concern, and are trying to protect a flank of theirs more in the pro-active sense.” Talking about minor leaguers, Shope said spring training is “essentially a tryout. You’re not on the team yet.”

Garrett Broshuis, a former major leaguer and one of the lawyers representing Aaron Senne, Michael Liberto, and Oliver Odle in a case Craig wrote about here, spoke to Giles for his article. Broshuis said, “It really is just unfortunate, because the people of Arizona passed this law to require employers to pay all workers a minimum wage, and these ballplayers are performing a service that is a valuable service, and they deserve to be compensated at least the minimum wage for it.”

Broshuis is seeking class action status in a lawsuit against Major League Baseball in Florida and Arizona, the league’s two homes for spring training. Arizona is home to the Cactus League, the spring training league for the Angels, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Reds, Indians, Rockies, White Sox, Royals, Dodgers, Brewers, Athletics, Padres, Giants, Mariners, and Rangers. A federal judge denied Broshuis’s request but he appealed and is waiting on a ruling.

MLB makes a ton of money during spring training the same way it makes money during the regular season: by charging for tickets, concessions, merchandise, and parking. Minor leaguers are part of the player population helping attract fans to the ballpark, so they deserve to be compensated for their work. That they are not is criminal enough, but to brazenly push legislation to remove any legal remedies they might have had is even more evil. MLB has been setting revenue records year over year, taking in more than $10 billion last year. The league and its individual teams can afford to provide a comfortable life for minor leaguers, but every day it makes the choice not to do so out of avarice.