I Know The Minor Leagues Are A Complete Joke, But This Is A New Level: It Actually COSTS Money To Play For The Athletics

SF Gate - Bank statements of Ports players reviewed by SFGATE reveal that team hotel charges over a two-week stretch exceeded the A's bimonthly paychecks, a bizarre situation that is only alleviated when the Ports hit the road and the A's are required to cover hotel fees. Through September, whenever the Ports have another long homestand, they're going to face the same conundrum.

The team hotel is basically the only realistic option for Ports players. It's exceedingly difficult to rent an apartment at a reasonable price if you're only in Stockton for the summer months. So that's what the Ports players do: two guys per room, losing money while chasing their Big League dreams because the A's won't cover their housing in Stockton. The A's owner, John Fisher, is worth more than $3 billion according to Forbes.

I'm not breaking news when I say life in the minor leagues absolutely blows. It's a tale as old as time with professional baseball where the only big difference in recent years is the wholesale shift towards caring about these guys. Forever and ever, you only mattered if you were on the big league club. Now, there's a uniform understanding that these young players are the most surefire way to build a championship contender. And because of that, people are actually starting to give a fuck about the peanut butter sandwiches and cramped living conditions. 

Even so, I still think we're all on the same page that minor leaguers are making a conscious trade off to get a chance at the big leagues. Like nobody went into minor league baseball to make a career. You go to the minors to make the majors. No one actually wants to be there. Boo hoo you don't make 6 figures for 100 games at AA for an average of 3,000 nightly paid attendance in rural Tennessee. At some level the athletes know what they're getting themselves into. The guys out hustling life insurance cold calls only make it if they bind enough policies, and life as a pro ball player is no different. Nobody's making you play minor league baseball. There's plenty of other career opportunities that out-earn $800/month post tax. You know the payoff is 5-star hotels, private flights, world class meals and millions of dollars in earnings if you make it. 

THAT SAID I ALMOST FELL OUT OF MY CHAIR WHEN I FOUND OUT YOU HAVE TO PAY TO BE ON THE OAKLAND A'S HIGH-A TEAM. 

I repeat. I legitimately almost convulsed myself out of a high chair into a head injury when I read this article in its entirely. 

You can take all of my tough talk minor league sentiment and throw it out the window if these guys are seriously funding 100% of the post-pandemic housing cost increases. 18-22 year olds literally paying money out of their pocket and we haven't even introduced the concept of eating food. That's just the shelter portion of the survival equation. These guys can't afford microwavable noodles. It's one thing to live lean and break even, but the Oakland A's minor leaguers in Stockton California don't even get that opportunity. 

I know the club is broke and I (again) concede that the minor league system doesn't really need to become some soulless corporate America environment that rewards being just good enough. But it's profoundly unacceptable that these guys are ultimately no different than your traditional local men's league. Those guys are also paying about $150-200 to play but that's for league dues and umpire costs and to get out of the fucking house every Saturday morning in the summer. They're paying it because they need to. 

You can't tell me we've sunk to this same level with professional baseball. This is like the late18th-century French feudal system the peasants were charged more for rent than they could earn off the land, so they revolted and killed everyone before installing a new national government. Pretty heavy stuff so maybe we just get in front of this one and help the players out. Nobody likes a cheapskate.