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Minor Leaguers Win a Bed of Their Own

MLB was criticized for making players find their own accommodations
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 18, 2021 6:55 PM CST
Minor Leaguers Win a Bed of Their Own
Members of the Biloxi Shuckers minor league baseball team eat lunch before practice at the Pensacola Blue Wahoos' stadium in Pensacola, Fla., in 2015.   (AP Photo/Michael Spooneybarger, File)

(Newser) – Most minor league players will get their own beds provided in team housing under a new Major League Baseball policy. Stepping up improvements for minor leaguers after widespread criticism, MLB's housing policy will require teams to provide furnished accommodations, with a single bed per player and no more than two players per bedroom. The housing must be "located at a reasonable, commutable distance from the ballpark," the commissioner’s office said Thursday. Teams will be responsible for basic utility bills, the AP reports.

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"To the extent that apartments, rental homes or host families are not feasible," MLB said, "clubs may choose to provide hotel rooms that satisfy standards put in place." While teams generally arrange for hotel accommodations for road trips, players largely had been left to find their own housing for homestands. Players retain the right to opt out of team-provided housing. MLB estimated the policy will apply to 90% of minor leaguers, including those assigned to extended spring training and the Arizona Complex League. It will not apply to players with minor league contracts earning $100,000 or more or to players with major league contracts who are on optional or outright assignment to the minor leagues.

"This is a historic victory for players, who forced the league's hand by speaking up throughout the 2021 season," said Harry Marino, director of Advocates for Minor Leaguers, in a statement. While he attributed the victory to collective action, Marino pointed out that the minor leaguers had no real say in the final policy. After successfully lobbying Congress to exempt minor leaguers from federal minimum wage laws, MLB raised wages between 38% and 72% when the minor leagues returned in 2021 after a pandemic shutdown. Still, many players have to work second or third jobs, Marino said, calling for greater change. "Housing is just one aspect of MLB’s fundamentally flawed minor league system," he said.

(Read more minor league baseball stories.)

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