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Minor League advocacy group created, demands $15K salaries for players

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It’s not a union. Rather, it’s being characterized as “a nonprofit advocacy group” that “will strive to provide a collective voice for minor leaguers.” But the organization, called Advocates for Minor Leaguers, was formed today and demanded that Major League Baseball roughly double salaries in the minors to $15,000 per season.

The group is led by Garrett Broshuis, a former minor league pitcher and the lawyer who has represented minor league players in lawsuits against Major League Baseball for several years. Other co-founders include:

  • Ty Kelly, a recently retired MLB player who will soon play for Team Israel in the Olympics;
  • Bill Fletcher, a long-time labor activist, author, and syndicated radio host;
  • Matt Paré, a former minor league player who made the “Homeless Minor Leaguer” YouTube channel as a player;
  • Raul Jacobson, a former minor league player who is now a third-year law student;
  • Lisa Raphael, founder of the creative agency Relatable Content, and producer on an Emmy Award-winning documentary about minor league life for the Brooklyn Cyclones; and
  • “A current longtime MLB player who wishes to remain anonymous.”

“This past week really provided an example of why this group needed to be out there,” Broshuis said on a conference call with the media this morning. He was referring to the situation in which they were forced to leave spring training camps due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite their reliance on those complexes for food, training facilities and often housing during spring training.

The Major League Baseball Players Association only represents players on 40-man rosters, leaving 100 or more players per franchise without representation. Broshuis said that while Advocates for Minor Leaguers is not a union, he is hoping one can be formed, perhaps with his association’s support.

“Would I like to see a minor league union in the future? Yeah, I think that would be a great situation for minor league players,” Broshuis said.

Broshuis did not say how, exactly, he might get Major League Baseball to take the new group’s concerns seriously, characterizing this as a first step. For its part, Major League did not offer comment and, instead, referred reporters to its press release from yesterday in which it announced that it would give minor leaguers the per diems it would’ve paid them had spring training not been canceled.

Fans, activists and even members of the media have been contributing to fundraising efforts to help minor leaguers as the shutdown has worn on. Broshuis said that he saw those efforts as complimentary to Advocates for Minor Leaguers’ goals.

“Hopefully in the future, there won’t be a need for a GoFundMe campaign just so a guy can buy diapers for his kid,” he said.

The major league minimum is $563,500 this year, and the top players make over $30 million annually. For players on 40-man rosters on option to the minors, the minimum is $46,000 this season. Non-40-man roster minor leaguers typically make $5-10,000 a year. They are exempt from federal labor laws, including minimum wage laws, by virtue of the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” which was quietly inserted onto page 1,967 of a $1.3 trillion spending bill in 2018 after urging and lobbying by Major League Baseball, it’s executives and its owners.

(parts of this report were contributed by the Associated Press)

Will fans be allowed to attend MLB playoff games?

The MLB Playoffs are underway!
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After a condensed 60-game regular season, the MLB playoffs kicked off this week with an usual 16-team format that you can read more about below, but one of the many questions on everyone’s mind is whether or not fans will be allowed to attend MLB playoff games.

Will fans be allowed to go to MLB playoff games?

There have been no spectators at any games this season but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is hopeful that fans will be able to attend the National League Championship Series and World Series Games. Both will take place in Texas which has been one of the few states allowing spectators to attend events this year.

“We are pressing ahead to have fans in Texas with a ticket sales announcement expected soon,” said Manfred to reporters at USA Today Sports. “One of the most important things to our game is the presence of fans. Starting down the path of having fans in stadiums, and in a safe and risk-free environment, is very, very important to our game.’’

Earlier this month, the Dallas Cowboys allowed over 21,000 fans into AT&T Stadium for the home opener. However, the MLB is still waiting for approval from Texas government officials. ALCS and NLCS games are expected to begin on October 11 and 12, respectively.

Below is the format and locations for each round. Unlike the regular season, there will be a bubble setup for each series in the postseason with the exception of the Wild Card round. Click here for the MLB schedule and scoreboard.

MLB Playoffs Format

Wild Card Series (Best-of-three): September 29 – October 2

All games will be held at the higher seed’s ball park.

American League

No. 1 Rays vs. No. 8 Blue Jays
No. 2 Athletics vs. No. 7 White Sox
No. 3 Twins vs. No. 6 Astros
No. 4 Cleveland vs. No. 5 Yankees

National League

No. 1 Dodgers vs. No. 8 Brewers
No. 2 Braves vs. No. 7 Reds
No. 3 Cubs vs. No. 6 Marlins
No. 4 Padres vs. No. 5 Cardinals

Division Series (Best-of-five): October 5 -10

The American League Division Series will be contested at Petco Park in San Diego and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The National League Division Series will be held at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas and Minute Maid Park in Houston.

League Championship Series (Best-of-seven): October 11-18

The American League Championship Series will be held at Petco Park in San Diego while the National League Championship Series will take place at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

World Series (Best-of-seven): October 20-28

The World Series will be held at Globe Life Field in Arlington. Home field advantage will go to the team with the best regular-season record.

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