Paul Daugherty is not happy with Aroldis Chapman

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Yesterday we linked the story about Aroldis Champan’s offseason in the wilderness. He’s having adjustment problems. He sleeps late. He seems aimless in the offseason. It was kind of sad, actually, and you do wonder about where his head is at.

Paul Daugherty certainly wonders. He’s quite upset at the story — he even questions its veracity it is so surprising to him — and he gives Chapman a talking-to via his column. A serious one. If you doubt that, note that he cites Joey Votto as a positive example. This after Daugherty has spent the past year ripping Votto until Hell wouldn’t have it. Any weapon at hand, I guess.

The weird thing, though, is that Daugherty doesn’t even mention the single biggest reason to rip Chapman: that he is apparently a chain smoker. On what planet that’s acceptable for a professional athlete these days is beyond me, but Daugherty doesn’t mention it. If he had I’d be nodding in chorus.

What he does rip him for is (a) not considering starting pitching, preferring only to be a closer; and (b) working on his hitting and saying that the game gets repetitive.

Daugherty asserts that Chapman and Chapman alone has insisted that he be a closer, but that doesn’t exactly jibe with stuff we’ve heard from the Reds in the past. Dusty Baker and others in the organization used to give a lot of quotes about preferring that Chapman close. Maybe that has changed — perhaps the Reds approached Chapman recently and asked him to start only to have him refuse — but if that’s the case it’s both news and it’s, in all likelihood, a partial function of how the club has treated Chapman in the past few years: as a closer.

As for the other stuff? Eh, a lot of players get bored and try different things in the offseason. Some players spend all winter in duck blinds or something. Chapman goes to the batting cage and sleeps in. So what? It seems to me that the biggest takeaway from the Chapman profile is some concern about how he’s been adjusting (or not) not dissatisfaction at his attitude. But that’s just me I suppose.

But seriously, Aroldis: quit smoking. That crap will kill you.

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.