Baseball's politics of rich and poor


(With apologies to Kevin Phillips)

My old friend Stefan Fatsis was on the money when he recently wrote:

As long as sports have been played for money, someone has complained about how much of it the players receive. “Salaries must come down or the interest of the public must be increased in some way,” Albert Spalding, the owner of the Chicago White Stockings of baseball’s National League, said in 1881. “If one or the other does not happen, bankruptcy stares every team in the face.”

Still, what are we to make of how, on one hand, CC Sabathia has inked a seven-year, $161 million deal with the Yankees, and on the other, as the Globe's Extra Bases blog reports:

According to representatives from two teams, MLB recently denied a proposal to increase meal money for minor league players from $20 to $25 per day on the road, a fact that clearly annoyed team officials. One team representative estimated that the increase might have cost each club somewhere in the range of $25,000, a microscopic sum in the multibillion dollar industry that MLB has become. Multiplied by 30, that places the total cost of the increase somewhere in the range of $750,000.

According to one of the two team officials, MLB cited national economic concerns for depriving the minor leaguers of the increase, something that annoyed all team officials. Minor league players are not protected by the players' union, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA).

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