Baseball Players Press Lawmakers for Minor League Labor Standards

By Alex Brown

Players share stories of sleeping in their cars, living on fast food and taking out loans to get through the season. Many work additional jobs in the offseason. But most fans who attend minor league games have no idea the players they’re cheering for don’t earn a living wage...

“I was really surprised,” said California state Sen. Josh Becker, a Democrat. “I’m a big baseball fan, but I didn’t know. I’ve started to hear a lot of different stories.”

Becker introduced the Minor League Baseball Players’ Bill of Rights earlier this month. The bill would allow players to seek new contracts after four years of service and negotiate wages based on their market value.

That system would supplant the standard seven-year contract with MLB team-controlled wages that players sign after they’re drafted. It also would allow players to profit from endorsement and autograph opportunities once enacted.

Becker’s measure appears to be the first state-level attempt to address minor league baseball’s labor issue, which has been subject to ongoing court battles and federal policy fights for years. It’s unclear whether his bill will advance, but other lawmakers are taking notice. New York state Sen. Jessica Ramos, a Democrat who chairs the Committee on Labor, tweeted that she is working on a similar bill. Her office declined to comment. 

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