In the world of challenger brands, I’m not sure I can think of any bigger underdogs than Minor League Baseball teams. With few exceptions, before any professional baseball player gets the opportunity to play in the bigs in a billion-dollar cathedral for teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, Braves, and Cardinals, they have to first do their time on teams like the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, the Hartford Yard Goats, the Rocket City Trash Pandas, and the Amarillo Sod Poodles. All for the love of the game and the chance to prove themselves. It sure ain’t for the money.
Last year, after two years of lobbying Congress to exempt minor league ballplayers from federal minimum wage laws, Major League Baseball (MLB) opted to give those players a wage increase between 38 percent and 72 percent. Sounds like a lot. But not when you play in the minors.
With the increase, players at rookie and short-season levels saw their minimum WEEKLY pay raised from $290 to $400. Players at Class A went from $290 to $500. Double-A jumped from $350 to $600, and Triple-A swelled from $502 to a whopping $700. To put that in perspective, last November, shortstop Corey Seager signed a contract with the Texas Rangers that will pay him $325 million over the next 10 years. If he played in every game (which he won’t), that’s $22,291 PER INNING. That’s nearly twice what a AAA player will make for an entire season. But outrageous pro contracts are another blog for another day.