Orioles Minor Leaguers Speak Out Against Housing Situation, Some May Sleep in Cars

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 15, 2021

MESA, AZ - SEPTEMBER 21: A detail shot of the MLB logo on batting practice balls before the game against the Peoria Javelinas and the Mesa Solar Sox at Sloan Park on Saturday, September 21, 2019 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Some members of the Bowie Baysox are contemplating sleeping in their cars because of low wages, according to the Twitter account Advocates for Minor Leaguers. 

The account explained how staying at the team hotel would swallow up a vast majority of the money apportioned to the players.

Advocates for Minor Leaguers @MiLBAdvocates

(1/3) We’ve just been told that multiple players on the Bowie Baysox are considering sleeping in their cars beginning tomorrow night. The Baysox are the Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

Advocates for Minor Leaguers @MiLBAdvocates

(3/3) According to one player: “We don’t know what to do.”

The Baysox are the Baltimore Orioles' Double-A affiliate.

Issues regarding the working conditions for minor leaguers isn't a recent concern, though it has come under more recent scrutiny after MLB rolled out its plan for affiliated leagues in February.

A number of minor league organizations across the country were culled, and MLB said at the time the process would lead to tangible benefits for players such as higher wages and better facilities. The league had also agreed to raise the minimum salary for minor leaguers beginning in 2021.

However, Tuesday's report comes a little more than two weeks after Advocates for Minor Leaguers brought attention to the post-game meals distributed to players within the Oakland Athletics organization.

Advocates for Minor Leaguers @MiLBAdvocates

Players in the Oakland A’s organization shared these photos of their recent post-game meals.<br><br>No employer would serve these meals to employees they care about. Why are the A’s serving them to their future Major Leaguers? pic.twitter.com/cIFqiPg6iX

"Several weeks ago, we were made aware of the postgame meals being served to players in our Minor League system," the A's said in a statement. "Those options were completely unacceptable and by no means meet our quality standards. We immediately ended our relationship with that third party vendor."

Advocates for Minor Leaguers has highlighted other cases of poor working conditions for minor league players:

Advocates for Minor Leaguers @MiLBAdvocates

We’ve been told that the Pelicans will now be providing housing for all of their players tonight. Advocacy works.<br><br>Players, agents, families, and friends, please reach out the next time any Minor Leaguer is facing a situation like this and we will do everything we can to help.

Advocates for Minor Leaguers @MiLBAdvocates

Multiple St. Louis Cardinals Minor Leaguers tell us they lose money when their team plays home games.<br><br>While the players make less than $72/day, the team hotel plus two meals costs them roughly $75/day—if not more.<br><br>The Cardinals should raise salaries or pay for the team hotel.

After President Donald Trump signed the Save America's Pastime Act into law in 2018, minor leaguers were exempted from federal minimum wage laws. The Arizona Capitol Times' Ben Giles reported in January 2019 that MLB was lobbying toward the same cause at the state level in Arizona.

The current collective bargaining agreement is due to expire on Dec. 2, and conversations between MLB and the MLB Players Association could prove contentious.

Perhaps this will be among the issues brought forward by the players as they lay out their requests at the negotiating table.