Life in baseball’s minor leagues: Poverty wages, leftover lasagna — and a lawsuit against MLB

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

A rainbow arches the sky over Lake Olmstead Stadium during the playing of the national anthem, before the Augusta GreenJackets played the Delmarva Shorebirds in Augusta Ga. on July 15.

A rainbow arches the sky over Lake Olmstead Stadium during the playing of the national anthem, before the Augusta GreenJackets played the Delmarva Shorebirds in Augusta Ga. on July 15 | John McDonnell / The Washington Post

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.

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Cuban Olympic team: Our people deserve all the effort and joy we can offer them

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NFL-backed youth football program claims it reduced concussions. The data disagrees

As increasing numbers of parents keep their children from playing tackle football for safety reasons.

As increasing numbers of parents keep their children from playing tackle football for safety reasons | Fotolia

Alan Schwarz (July 28) – As increasing numbers of parents keep their children from playing tackle football for safety reasons, the National Football League and other groups have sought to reassure them that the game is becoming less dangerous. Continue reading

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Olympics: Unraveling the doping scandal

By MARCEL WOLAND

“Some people think that football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.”Followers of mass media in the West may be forgiven for not noticing that the Olympic movement has been severely damaged by the recent weaponization of the Olympics.

What the average Western viewer was expected to take away from the much-reported ‘Russian doping scandal’ was that Russia is indeed a lawless, sinister entity and that the Fu Manchu-like Putin has his finger in every pie. Many believed it. Continue reading

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Talent theft: Effects of US blockade of Cuba evident in field of sport

By ENVER VILLAMIZAR

Focus-on-Cuban-Sport.HeaderOn July 15, 2015 the coach of Cuba’s rowing team to the Pan American Games, Juan Carlos Reyes, confirmed that four of Cuba’s rowers had left Canada for the United States. The Globe and Mail and other media outlets pounced on the story, reporting on it in a manner that sheds no light on the issue at the heart of this story. The impression is conveyed that those who abandon their team are “defectors,” a term reserved for those who flee oppression and persecution. This feeds a narrative which claims they are fleeing to freedom. Media reports speculated on the motivation of the rowers, using quotes from professional U.S. “recruiter” Joe Kehoskie, to cobble together a story that imposes the predetermined conclusions of a Cold War mindset. Continue reading

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Rio Olympics: State-organized talent theft and mercantilism

Qatar's Marko Bagaric, left, tries to score past France's Ludovic Fabregas during the men's preliminary handball match between France and Qatar at the 2016 Summer Olympics on Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro | Ben Curtis/AP

Qatar’s Marko Bagaric from Bulgaria, left, tries to score past France’s Ludovic Fabregas during the men’s preliminary handball match between France and Qatar at the 2016 Summer Olympics on Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro | Ben Curtis/AP

By TONY SEED 
August 10, updated August 19, 2016

Of the some 11,000 athletes competing in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, an unknown number are competing for medal-hungry countries that are not their birth nation. At least 23 of Qatar’s 39 member team at Rio were born outside of Qatar and transplanted – recruited in many cases with the offer of financial inducements. The Canadian Olympic team also features a number of plastic or transfer athletes recruited through the “Own The Podium” program of private big capital for support and funding on the basis that they are “winners” and “America’s best who happen to have some kind of Canadian connection.” Such developments, all in the name of high ideals, should be of concern to Canadians.

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USA Gymnastics ignored underage sexual abuse allegations

The investigation sheds a light on sexual abuse policies in US gymnastics | EFE

The investigation sheds a light on sexual abuse policies in US gymnastics | EFE

An IndyStar investigation reveals how the sports organization was warned of sexual abuses to ahtletes and did nothing.

USA Gymnastics, a U.S.-based Olympic organization, failed to act or notify authorities after years of allegations of sexual abuse suffered by athletes from coaches, according to an investigation by IndyStar. Continue reading

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