Red Sox’ prospect Bryce Brentz shot himself in the leg

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UPDATE: Um, sorry. Didn’t realize that D.J. wrote about this yesterday. In my defense, I was trying to do an Internet detox yesterday and didn’t see it. NOT in my defense: I failed to go back and look to see if anyone covered it yesterday, so yes, I’m lazy and redundant.

11:06 AM: The Red Sox’ first round draft pick from 2010 had an accident:

Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington says outfield prospect Bryce Brentz accidentally shot himself in the leg last month, but could recover in time to play in spring training. Cherington said Saturday that Brentz was cleaning the gun went it went off. The bullet passed through Brentz’s left leg.

Whoops.

I have a friend who is a cop and he once told me that basically every accidental shooting he and his colleagues have ever seen were said by the victims to have occurred while “cleaning the gun.” He can’t recall anyone ever saying that they were goofing off or being careless when accidentally shooting themselves. It’s always when they’re cleaning them. Damndest thing.

Anyway, Brentz was pretty lucky to have a clean injury like this rather than to have broken a bone or tore some muscle that would make his recovery a much longer proposition.

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.