Former Tigers Look to Change Major League Baseball
COLUMBIA - Garrett Broshius is done playing, but he's not done making an impact on pro baseball. He pitched for the Missouri Tigers in the early 2000s.
He dreamed of making it to the big leagues but quickly realized his time in the minors difficult.
"From a standpoint of facilities, from the standpoint of the type of training you had and also the living conditions, it was actually a step down from Mizzou," Broshius said.
He's now a lawyer in St. Louis where he's part of a group trying to change major league baseball. His firm represents three players, including former Tigers Aaron Senne and Mike Liberto.
They filed a class action suit against major league baseball for unfair wages and labor practices for Minor Leaguers. The class action suit document is 450 pages long, pretty lengthy, so I decided to simplify it.
Crunching the numbers, the minimum a major leaguer makes is $500,000. For a minor leaguer in lowa-ball, they make anywhere from $3,000 to $7,500, which, if you look at it, is below the Federal Poverty Line of $11,490.
According to MILB.com, the maximum a low-level a-ball player makes in a month is $1,100.
For a minimum wage worker working 40 hours a week, they're actually making more than the Minor League player.
"They're struggling just to eat at Subway for lunch and struggling to just eat breakfast on an average morning," Broshius said.
Mason Katz who dominated at LSU last year; now he's just trying to make it month to month.
"You know we go back for the offseason with less money than we came here with" Katz said.
You also have to take into account minor leaguers don't get paid overtime despite working 50-70 hours a week, they're only paid in the five months they play and aren't paid for any extra training they do, even spring training. But how does one go about this?
There's no Minor League Baseball Union. Broshius said most players fear complaining.
"So when you're just one person, who are you supposed to complain to? It's very, very hard when you're a young player chasing a dream to really try to change that system," Broshius said.
And for players like Katz, the living situation for most players is a disaster.
"Guys would pile 5,6 guys into a 2 to 3 bedroom apartment, and a lot of time you would be sleeping on air mattresses. Some of them sleep in the living room of the apartments with no other real furniture in there, and that really didn't make sense to me."
Some players may not agree with the current conditions but certainly understand the opportunity in front of them.
"What it all comes down to, we're playing for the opportunity to one day make it, and that's what we signed up for, I guess. I have a degree. So, in some respects, I probably could have gone out and got a job that would be making more money without a doubt, but this is my passion. This is something I love to do and I've done since I was five years old," Peoria Chiefs Pitcher Chase Brookshire said.
So in conclusion, Broshius is trying to achieve small changes that will make a big difference.
"You know it would help us out in the offseason. Being able to focus on baseball so we can come here more prepared rather than, 'OK, I got to work a job all day, and I got to hit at 9-10 o'clock at night just in order to stay fresh," Katz said.
"We're not looking to turn every Minor Leaguer into a millionaire. We're just seeking for them to comply with the same laws that McDonald's and same laws that Walmart are complying with where they're just paying a minimum wage to them plus overtime. And so they aren't suddenly going to get rich. The Minor Leagues are still going to be a proving ground," Broshius said.