Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings are underway, as fans everywhere wait with bated breath for the next big-name free agent signing. Even as the hot stove burns its brightest, however, baseball's powers that be haven't forgotten their ongoing mission to screw minor-league players out of a living wage.
Minor League Baseball is currently fighting a lawsuit brought by a group of former players seeking increased salaries and back pay, and they are ready to get proactive. On Monday, according to Josh Norris of Baseball America, MiLB president Pat O'Conner and chief legal counsel Stan Brand announced the creation of a political action committee (PAC), which will be used to collect money to lobby the government on behalf of the league. On top of not wanting to pay players a decent wage, MiLB doesn't even want to have to pay for the fight to make sure it doesn't happen.
"I think it's everything," Brand said. "And … while (the players' lawsuit is) the most immediate and pressing, it's probably true that we're going to face this down the road in some other format. Rather than, as I said, wait to remobilize, we're going to be proactive, get engaged, get our troops engaged, get an infrastructure in place that allows us to immediately respond."
The plight of minor leaguers—who make as little as $1,100 a month, and only in season—made headlines earlier this year when a pair of Congressmen introduced the Save America's Pastime Act, a bill seeking to make players exempt from protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which protects the salaries of hourly workers.
Not content to abide by this disturbingly progressive piece of legislation from the Roosevelt administration, which would pay their players in line with fast food workers, MiLB argued that playing minor league ball is "not a career but a short-term seasonal apprenticeship in which the player either advances to the Major Leagues or pursues another career."
Given all that we've seen and heard from Minor League Baseball in this labor fight, it is hardly surprising that they are precisely the kind of assholes who would need to keep a shady-ass lobbying firm on retainer.