By Ken Reed

HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel recently had an eye-opening feature on the exploitation of minor league baseball players.

Minor league baseball players, especially at the lower levels, have very little in common with their big league brethren. These minor leaguers are “professional” in the sense they’re getting paid but their meager salaries often work out to less than minimum wage, sometimes in the $3-$4 dollar range when all their time at the ballpark is factored in.

To some minor league baseball players, it seems that everyone in professional baseball is making good money except them.

It’s a perfect recipe for exploitation: powerful Major League Baseball owners who supply the vast majority of the players for minor league teams, a large supply of young aspiring baseball players in high school and college hoping to chase their Major League dreams, and the lack of a minor league baseball players union to protect the players’ interests.

As one player put it, the reality is that the person selling hot dogs in minor league stadiums is often making more money per hour than the first baseman that everyone’s paying to see play.

This short clip from the show is worth a look.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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