March 19, 2008
Early this morning, Boston Red Sox players voted unanimously to not make the trip to Japan unless Major League Baseball follows through on a previous agreement to pay the coaches and staff for the trip.
This afternoon Oakland Athletics players made the same decision.
When the Red Sox and Athletics agreed to make the trip last fall, they were under the impression that the staff would be compensated the same way as the players.
However, in the last few days it has surfaced that only players will get receive compensation.
The players seem adamant that the MLB follows through on its promise. To show its seriousness, Boston refused to take the field in a spring training game this afternoon, instead signing autographs for fans at the game.
The Red Sox are also saying they will refuse to board their plane for the flight to Japan this afternoon unless the issue is resolved.
Major League Baseball is a billion dollar industry, and appears to be going back on a promise to pay the coaches and professional staff a little under $40,000 for the trip.
Though the players boycotting the spring training game, and potentially the Japan trip, may appear to be terrible for baseball and its public relations, it is also a sign that big leaguers are less selfish then previously presumed.
These guys make ridiculous amounts of money, and are willing to jeopardize some of their fame in the name of their behind-the-scenes guys.
Forty thousand dollars may not seem like a lot to Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek, or Mike Lowell; but to coaches, trainers, and other members of the staff who may make $75,000 a year, it could mean putting a down payment on a house or putting a child through college.
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