Rob Manfred again deflects questions pertaining to paying minor leaguers a livable wage

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Though it’s an issue that has been on the back burner for a few months, earlier this year, the topic of minor league salaries was a huge issue. Near the end of June, Congressman Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) proposed H.R. 5580, or the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” in the House of Representatives. The bill sought to amend language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which would allow Major League Baseball to continue paying minor league players a substandard wage.

There has been a class action lawsuit filed in October last year, alleging that minor league players have been underpaid and exploited. These players are often paid less than $7,500 per year, even though they’re putting in eight-plus hour days six, sometimes seven days a week plus travel. Minor leaguers aren’t represented by a union, unlike major leaguers, which is why they continue to be exploited.

When asked for comment, commissioner Rob Manfred said that minor league baseball is “not a career but a short-term seasonal apprenticeship.”

To be fair, we shouldn’t have expected anything else out of Manfred. His job is to get the most out of his labor force for as little as possible. But it’s immoral and we should ask more of business leaders running billion dollar businesses.

Manfred was asked again about the minor league pay issue by Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, but all he did was deflect again.

Kennedy asked, “Can you explain why you’re opposed to paying minor league players minimum wage?”

Manfred responded, “We’re not opposed to paying minor league players any particular wage. What we are opposed to is the imposition of administrative requirements in terms of keeping track of hours and overtime. They’re simply impractical in minor league baseball. A young man decides that he wants to take extra batting practice. Is that overtime or is that his voluntary undertaking? Another young player decides he wants to go to the gym. Are those working hours or are they not? … What do you do with a team that’s on the road for 10 days in terms of keeping track of hours? For us it’s really not about the money so much as the burden that would be imposed. I don’t think that when the wage and hours laws were passed that people were thinking about minor league baseball players.”

Kennedy then asked, “Would you then consider raising the uniform player salaries to make them more commensurate to minimum wage?”

Manfred said, “I’m not going to talk about what we would consider doing. We still have active litigation out there. There’s conversations ongoing. In terms of getting into revenues, it’s just not productive for me to do at this time.”

So, in short, Manfred doesn’t want to raise minor league salaries because… it’s too confusing keeping track of hours. In actuality, it’s not that difficult. He’s the commissioner. He and the players’ union can negotiate what activities fall under what criteria. Go to the gym at a league-approved facility? Overtime. Non-league-approved? No overtime. It’s not really that difficult in the year 2016. The “too much administrative work” is just a cop out so Major League Baseball can continue underpaying its workforce.

Rutschman has five hits in opener, Orioles outlast Red Sox 10-9

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

BOSTON – The last time Adley Rutschman recalls feeling this level of emotion on a baseball field was playing in front of intimate, 5,000-seat crowds in college at Oregon State.

He trumped that experience at Fenway Park on Thursday in his first career opening day start.

“This blows that out of the water,” Rutschman said.

Rutschman became the first catcher in major league history with five hits in an opener, and the Baltimore Orioles survived a wild ninth inning to beat the Boston Red Sox 10-9.

“To have that close game in the ninth inning and the crowd get so loud. You kind of sit there and say, ‘This is pretty cool,’” said Rutschman, the top overall pick in the 2019 draft.

Rutschman – who debuted for the Orioles last May and quickly became indispensable to the young, resurgent club – homered in his first at-bat and finished 5-for-5 with a career-best four RBIs and a walk on a chilly day at Fenway Park, with a temperature of 38 degrees at first pitch.

Ramon Urias hit a two-run homer for Baltimore, which finished with 15 hits, nine walks and five stolen bases.

Kyle Gibson (1-0) allowed four runs and six hits over five-plus innings to earn his first opening-day victory since his 2021 All-Star season with Texas. Gibson gave up an RBI groundout in the first inning before retiring nine straight Red Sox hitters.

The Orioles nearly gave the game away in the ninth.

With Baltimore leading 10-7, closer Félix Bautista walked pinch-hitter Raimel Tapia. Alex Verdugo followed with a single and advanced to second on an error by center fielder Cedric Mullins.

Rafael Devers struck out. Justin Turner then reached on an infield single to third when Urias’ throw was wide, scoring Tapia. Masataka Yoshida grounded to shortstop Jorge Mateo, who stepped on second for the force but threw wildly to first, allowing Verdugo to score.

Bautista struck out Adam Duvall on three pitches to end it and earn the save.

The Orioles scored four runs in the fourth and three in the fifth to take an 8-2 lead. Baltimore led 10-4 before Bryan Baker allowed three runs in the eighth to give the Red Sox some hope.

The eighth could have been even better for the Red Sox had Devers, who led off the inning, not become the first player in major league history to strike out on a pitch clock violation. Devers was looking down and kicking debris off his cleats when umpire Lance Barksdale signaled a violation that resulted in strike three.

“There’s no excuse,” said Alex Cora, who dropped to 0-5 in opening-day games as Boston’s manager. “They know the rules.”

Boston offseason addition and two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber (0-1) struggled in his Fenway debut, surrendering five runs on six hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings.

“Less than ideal,” Kluber said. “Didn’t turn out the way I would have hoped for.”


Red Sox: Christian Arroyo stayed in the game after taking an inadvertent cleat to the side of his head in the second inning. Arroyo was applying a tag to Rutschman at second base as he attempted to stretch out a single. Rutschman’s leg flipped over as he slid awkwardly. … LHP James Paxton was placed on the 15-day inured list (retroactive to March 27) with a strained right hamstring.


Rutschman, one of six Baltimore players making his first opening-day appearance, became the youngest Oriole to homer in his first opening-day at-bat since Cal Ripken Jr. in 1984.


The Orioles took advantage of MLB’s bigger bases – going from 15- to 18-inch squares – that are being used for the first time this season. Baltimore hadn’t stolen five bases in a game since last June 24 against the White Sox. Mullins and Jorge Mateo swiped two bags apiece, and Adam Frazier got a huge jump on his steal against reliever Ryan Brasier. There was nothing Boston catcher Reese McGuire could do to stop them and on the majority of Baltimore’s steals, he didn’t bother to throw.


Right-hander Kaleb Ort and Tapia earned Boston’s final two roster spots to open the season. Tapia got the nod over Jarren Duran, who was sent down to Triple-A Worcester. Ort pitched a scoreless sixth with one strikeout Thursday.


Orioles: RHP Dean Kremer will make is sixth career start against Boston when the three-game series resumes on Saturday. In 11 road starts last season, he went 5-3 with a 3.63 ERA.

Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale, who has pitched in only 11 games over the past three years due to injuries, is set to begin his seventh season in Boston.