Becker’s bill is ahead of the curve | Local

When State Sen. Josh Becker, D-San Mateo, introduced a bill to “establish the minor league baseball players’ bill of rights,” I was skeptical.

My first thought was that it wasn’t going anywhere. The minor league system used by Major League Baseball is so antiquated and so heavily weighted in favor of owners, that nothing would ever be done. While those high draft picks that receive signing bonuses don’t hurt for the money as they move through a team’s system, the vast majority of players earn less than pit pay.

My thinking has always been, this is how it is and baseball players have to decide how long they want to live this way – sleeping on a host family’s spare bed, meager meals and very often, another job in the offseason.

But thanks to the most fortuitous timing, Becker’s Senate Bill 1248 received a big boost late Tuesday night when a judge finally released his decision on a lawsuit filed by several minor league ballplayers – eight years ago.

In his decision, Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero in San Francisco said MLB was not complying with Arizona’s minimum wage laws and California’s wage statement requirements. He went on to say that minor league players should be paid for spring training as well as travel from spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida.

“These minor leaguers aren’t treated well,” Becker said by phone Wednesday morning. “The judge’s announcement yesterday is a good moment for us. It showed that we were on the right track.

Becker said he first became aware of the situation through one of his staff members who had friends going through it with their children as they struggled with the decision to pursue their baseball dreams.

Being a sports fan in general, Becker thought he could help bring about change by introducing the bill in California.

“Whether it’s climate change or legislation on things like this, we’ve seen that California can lead the country because we’re so big,” Becker said.

But given that we’ve seen most baseball owners prioritize making money over winning, which was the main reason for the recent lockdown, could this legislation cause MLB teams to raise the stakes and take their California-based teams to another state? There are nine MLB-affiliated minor league teams in the state, including eight in the California Low-A league. The Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, are the only team above single-A in the state. Is Becker worried about retaliation from MLB teams and owners?

“I don’t think so,” Becker said. “I certainly don’t think it will come to that.”

While I’m all for the “little guy” making as much money as possible, I also don’t think a career in minor league baseball was ever meant to be that – a career. Minor league baseball, since the advent of the farm system, has been used to prepare top players for the big leagues. It’s not to keep a baseball team in town or to create goodwill. If there was a way for MLB owners to develop players without fielding entire minor league teams and systems, they would.

I guess players have to ask themselves what their goal is: is it to make a living playing baseball or is it to play in the major leagues? If the answer is the latter, then hold on until they kick you out. If it’s the former, there are far better ways to make a living than minor league baseball, while still playing the game, whether it’s in an adult league or on one of the many independent teams in the country. .

Because 99.9% of people go offline after the Olympics, I thought I’d give you an update on American skier Mikaela Shiffrin.

The face of the U.S. Olympic team heading into the Beijing Games last month, Shiffrin received all sorts of heartache for flaring up in spectacular fashion. Not only did she not win any medals, but she only completed a handful of races.

Since the Olympics, however, Shiffrin has moved closer to her fourth overall world title. In her first start after Beijing, Shiffrin finished second in the Super-G in Switzerland on March 5 and on Wednesday she won her first downhill race in two years at the World Cup final in Courchevel, France.

With three races to go, Shiffrin has a 156-point lead over Olympic slalom gold medalist Petra Vlahova.

The two wins so far this month were No. 73 and 74 for Shiffrin, who at the end of his career will be in the argument for the greatest skier of all time – male or female.

Just goes to show you that two bad weeks at the Olympics don’t make a career.