Here is a way for the San Diego Padres to gain an advantage in Major League Baseball.
I love baseball.
It is our great nation’s pastime.
There’s nothing more American than catching an afternoon ballgame, eating a hot dog, drinking a cold drink, and snacking on a bag of peanuts. And what better place to enjoy this than in San Diego, California, at Petco Park- watching the Padres play.
San Diego Padres fans are incredibly fortunate to have an understanding ownership group with Peter Siedler and Ron Fowler. The duo did a fantastic job investing in the ballpark and in the team in a short amount of time. They spent tremendously in the international market, where previously, there was very little activity for the franchise. General manager A.J. Preller has the green light to spend record amounts in free agency year after year. With that, the team seems to be on the edge of a breakout. Padre fans should feel lucky to possess such an awesome ownership group.
Unfortunately, the Padres, and baseball in general, have a black eye. A skeleton in the closet if you will, but it’s something you won’t see on game day.
The issue is that players in the minor leagues are grossly underpaid. Most minor leaguers (based on the recent update to league minimum salary) are making around $10,000 to $20,000 per season depending on their level of play and the number of years as a professional.
The season is six months long, and they are not required to be compensated in the offseason. This leads to players sharing bedrooms, living with sponsors, and overall relying on other people for their basic life needs. There’s virtually zero money to hire a specialist or personal trainer should a player want to or need to due to injury. Yes, some players do receive a million dollars or more from sign-on bonuses, but most are either relying on parents, taking out loans, or just getting a job to survive.
This needs to change. At a time where Major League Baseball is making record profits year after year (at least before the COVID-19 outbreak), this is unacceptable. There will be baseball in the coming years; there’s no reason to think otherwise. Therefore, the burden of one year lost profits should not be taken out on minor leaguers for years and years to come. The fans and the profits will come back, and the minor league players need their fair share.
The fact that a professional ballplayer in a multi-billion dollar industry can’t be paid enough to live comfortably is embarrassing. In a perfect world, minor leaguers should get paid upwards of $100K per season. That would be an amazing, yet unrealistic jump for minor league pay though. A more realistic figure would be around $30,000 (on average) for a full season of play.
Providing this comfort for young players would be a fantastic start in helping future Padres be self-sufficient, and maybe even have something left over to invest in their future via specialized training. Thinking outside the box is the only way to obtain an advantage in a very competitive industry.
A raise for Padres’ minor leaguers would give the Padres a distinct advantage over all the other franchises. Having extra funds could be the difference in having a professional level dietician and actually being able to afford the food. Players could potentially hire a personal trainer to stay in shape, and maybe even the aforementioned specialists for baseball training. It could simply be the difference in being able to have their own room or even their own apartment. The Padres already have a top farm system in baseball. It could be even better if players are appropriately compensated.
Yet another way this could give the Padres an advantage is in the draft. A.J. Preller used the MLB’s slot value system to get three first-round draft picks in 2020 essentially. If players knew they were going to be taken care of during the season, they would be more willing to take a lower signing bonus and thus enable Preller to get an even higher-rated player later in virtually every round.
With all that being said- it’s not that simple. An employee can’t go to an employer and ask for a raise simply because the business can afford it. Life just doesn’t work that way. Not only is an owner of any business going to want to keep the profits of his business, but the world is amid a pandemic, and profits are down across the board for just about everyone. There is also an issue as MLB and it’s player’s union might have a tough time allowing one single team to pay more to their minor leaguers. There is a lot of politics and red tape that would need to be solved.
There is something Padres fans can do to offset the cost of higher wages in the form of a commitment to the team.
Many fans have been buying knock off jerseys from overseas via the internet. These jerseys look similar to the originals, but the team receives exactly ZERO dollars in the deal. Part of supporting your team is not only watching and cheering for them, but also going to games and buying team apparel. If fans can commit to attending more games or buying a season ticket package, those extra profits could be used for improving minor leaguers’ lifestyle. Fans can easily choose to buy only authentic Padre gear. Not knockoff jerseys and such at a fraction of the price. Even better- buy it directly from the Padres’ team store at the ballpark.
All Padre fans need to unite on this front. All the #FriarFaithful should band together and tell the team in one voice- we want our minor leaguers to be paid better. On social media platforms, tag the Padres and use #PayPadresMinorLeaguers and tell them what you (the fan) are committed to doing next season and beyond. You can also use the email- email@example.com.
Times are tough for a lot of people these days, so if you can’t in good conscience commit to spending money on something as unimportant as baseball- don’t worry. Just use the hashtag and let the Padres know they need to simply do what’s right and what is needed. Message the team and promise to do your part for the future of this great franchise.
If all the #FriarFaithful speak up and make their voices heard- together, they can change the Padres forever. If the Padres can be the first team to commit, other teams might very well follow suit. Let us all change baseball for the better. Let us make it better for the next generation of fans.