Far away from U.S. Major League Baseball’s mighty salaries and Hollywood glitz, thousands of minor leaguers – over 50 per cent of Latino origin – survive on baseball earnings below the federal poverty line and face a broad assault on their rights. They are forced to fend for themselves: “The starting salary for a first-year professional player, paid only during the regular season, is US$1,100”; a 60-hour work week is routine.
No matter how they all describe themselves, the members of the MLB sports cartel – including the Toronto Blue Jays, “Canada’s team” – are part of the financial oligarchy which rules the roost.
This private sports empire acts as a law unto itself with impunity; for example, the U.S. state has exceptionally exempted sports cartels from its anti-trust laws. “According to a (collective action) lawsuit filed against Major League Baseball two years ago, (it) violate(s) federal and state minimum wage laws.” MLB justifies this by comparing the athletes to “artists, musicians and other creative professionals who are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act.” The supranational state (United States of North American Monopolies including the U.S., Canada and Mexico) makes the rights and narrow private interests of these corporations supreme.
As KENT BABB and JORGE CASTILLO report in the Washington Post, “Baseball has in recent years parlayed renewed popularity into record earnings, leveraging apparel and media demands into US$9.5 billion in revenue last year; each of its 30 franchises averaged US$23 million in profits in 2015.” This system has to change. – TS
AUGUSTA, Ga. (Aug. 18) — They trickled into the mid-July night, a rain-shortened loss beginning their Friday night early. A 25-year-old catcher hung back.