Report: 2 Minor Leaguers Sleeping in Clubhouse Because of Cost of Housing

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIAugust 25, 2021

A detail view of a baseball glove with the MLB logo during a Northwestern State University at Houston Baptist University NCAA college baseball game, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher)
AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher

Advocates for Minor Leaguers, a nonprofit advocacy group whose goal is to improve minor league baseball players' working conditions, released a report Tuesday regarding two prospects who are sleeping in their clubhouse to save on housing costs.

Advocates for Minor Leaguers @MiLBAdvocates

Two players with one MiLB team are sleeping in the clubhouse. They want us to keep the team anonymous. In their view, sleeping in the clubhouse is better than the alternative—paying for housing they can’t afford.<br><br>When will MLB finally step in and address the MiLB housing crisis?

As Advocates for Minor Leaguers notes, minor league players do not have a union. In addition, most players make under $7,500 per year, play for free during spring training and are obligated to train during the offseason.

The spotlight has been on minor leaguers' working and living conditions this year. Of note, Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic provided a snapshot of the landscape:

"The Athletic spoke to more than 30 players from 20 major-league organizations, ranging from undrafted free agents to first-round picks with big-league experience, about their housing travails, past and present.
"Players detailed living out of their cars, dealing with roach-infested apartments and piling multiple teammates in one- or two-bedroom apartments, with some men sleeping on lawn chairs, pool rafts or air mattresses.
"With rare exceptions, minor-league players—who are paid only seasonally—are responsible for procuring and paying for temporary housing for a five-month season. Players get assigned a team, often at the very end of spring training, and get three nights—in a hotel paid for by the team—to travel there and figure out where to live."

ESPN's Joon Lee also spoke with members of the Los Angeles Angels minor league system, who described rough living conditions and going through mental health crises due to the low pay.

"People don't understand the mental strain that comes along with that, that you don't know how much money you're going to have at the end of each month and not knowing how you're going to make ends meet," Shane Kelso told Lee. "I was a late-rounder. I didn't sign for a lot of money. The vast majority of players are in my position."

Ben Verlander, a former minor leaguer in the Detroit Tigers system who works as an MLB analyst for Fox Sports, wrote a firsthand account of what he dealt with during his career, including harsh living conditions and meal concerns.

"The meals provided for dinner in the minor leagues often aren't enough food for a middle schooler," Verlander wrote.

Minor league baseball made a return in 2021 after being shelved in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are 120 minor league affiliates (four per MLB team) following MLB's restructuring of the farm system.