Ted Berg of For the Win has written an excellent story about what it’s like to be a minor league catcher in spring training. About how many of them there are and how much work they do. Of how critically important it is to the big league team and big league players that they are there. After all, when pitchers report, they’ve gotta throw to somebody.
Except they’re not paid. No one is paid for spring training. Checks — and for minor leaguers, they are extraordinarily small checks — do not start until games do. The minor league catchers burning 4,000 calories a day with no days off for over a month in the Florida and Arizona sun are doing it for free. But it’s not volunteer work. It’s mandatory.
All of this provides a fantastic illustration of a point we’ve hit over and over again in this space about how Major League Baseball takes advantage of its minor leaguers and, in our view, exploits them. It has paid them less than minimum wage for years and, when a lawsuit arose challenging that, MLB greased politicians in order to get a law passed to allow it to continue to do that legally.