NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Baseball says its owners have agreed to begin providing housing to some minor league players starting in the 2022 season.
“In mid-September, owners discussed the issue of player housing and unanimously agreed to begin providing housing to certain minor league players,” MLB said in a statement to the Associated Press on Sunday night. “We are in the process of finalizing the details of that policy and expect it to be announced and in place for the 2022 season.”
ESPN reported on the owners’ decision earlier on Sunday, citing unnamed sources, saying the league had to ask major league teams to either cover the rent completely or through stipends to arrange the accommodation themselves. will need to provide accommodation.
The league did not specify which players would be covered by the new policy.
The move is expected to ease the burden on players, some of whom receive income from teams that fall below the federal poverty line of $12,880 for individuals.
MLB raised the minimum wage for minors for 2021, raising Class A pay from $290 to $500 per week, Double-A from $350 to $600 and Triple-A from $502 to $700 over a nearly five-month season extended to Players are paid only in season.
While teams typically arrange hotel accommodations for road trips, players have largely been left to find their own accommodations for homes. The level of assistance provided by teams varies widely – lower level affiliates sometimes arrange host families for young players, and some organizations offer housing stipends to some or all players. The Houston Astros are believed to be the first team in baseball to offer furnished apartments to all players for the 2021 season.
But mostly, players are left to handle accommodation on their own, usually with limited budgets seeking short-term leases at short notice. It’s not uncommon for teammates to overcrowd apartments and sleep on air mattresses. In 2019 a player and his girlfriend took the unusual step of living in a renovated school bus.
The MLB statement also said, “MLB is engaged in a multi-year effort to modernize the minor league system and better assist players as they pursue their dreams of playing in the major leagues.” “In 2021, we increased salaries for minor league players by 38-72% during the season and significantly reduced travel requirements. In addition, multimillion-dollar improvements are already underway at minor league ballparks nationwide, including substantial renovations to player-facing facilities such as locker rooms and training rooms. “
The statement came nearly a month after players from Mets and Phillies organizations protested on the field during the last weekend of the regular season, wearing teal wristbands to draw attention to pay, saying it was insufficient.
The demonstration was organized by Advocates for Minor Leaguers, which offered fans suggestions on how MLB could better deal with minor leaguers. In-season housing was one of the ideas, including raising salaries, paying players year-round, and offering three meals per day during the season.
“This is a historic victory for minor league baseball players,” Harry Marino, executive director of Advocates for Minor Leaguers, said in a statement. “When we started talking to players about the difficulties they faced this season, finding and paying for in-season housing was at the top of almost every player’s list. As a result, addressing that issue became our top priority in our first season in existence. “
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