Updated: Apr 13, 2020
Fear. Panic. Uncertainty. These are all present as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this time has also served as an opportunity for us to reflect and has put into perspective what matters most. Furthermore, it’s humbled us.
Yes. A tiny, microscopic virus essentially shutdown the worlds’ biggest industries- tourism, entertainment, and sports, leaving many struggling to get by.
Jeremy Wolf, former New York Mets outfielder and current Executive Director of More Than Baseball, a nonprofit organization that helps baseball players get access to necessities such as food, equipment, housing, and other services, tells The Zone:
“ As far as things go, Minor Leaguers won't be paid. Why is this a big deal? Well, because Major Leaguers will be and there's enough money to support players at all levels. Major league baseball refuses. So we have taken it upon ourselves to do it on our own. And we're okay with that, that's how we were formed, with the go-getter attitude of doing it ourselves.”
Wolf’s right. There certainly is enough money to support players at all levels, with the MLB bringing in a record $10.3 billion in revenue in 2018. Yet, despite this, and despite the MLB handling contracts for both Major and Minor league teams, there’s a huge disparity in pay between players in each leagues. Major League Baseball players earn more than $4 million in average salary while the average salaries for Minor League players ranged from around $6,000 in Single-A to around $9,350 in Double-A to nearly $15,000 in Triple-A in 2018, according to The Atlantic.
The harsh reality is that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many Minor League players are struggling even more to make ends meet, despite being professional athletes. Fortunately, the brotherhood of baseball extends far beyond the diamond and Major League players have pitched in to help through More Than Baseball, which is co-ran by former-New York Yankees outfielder Slade Heathcott.
Adam Wainwright, an ace pitcher for the St.Louis Cardinals donated $250,000 for the Minor Leaguers and Daniel Murphy, an infielder for the Colorado Rockies contributed $100,000.
If we’ve learned from this situation, we realize there’s strength and power in numbers. Furthermore, as we’ve learned from Wolf’s, Heathcott’s, Wainwright’s and Murphy’s efforts is that this truly is more than baseball, and a team effort. You can bring awareness by supporting More Than Baseball or @adoptmilbplayer on Twitter. Additionally, you can support a player by sending him a care package or donating to the cause, where the money will be used to go to buy groceries for players.
Coronavirus has proven to be bigger than sports; and has also reminded us that we’re bigger than sports. Athletes are more than athletes. They’re mothers, fathers, daughters, children, aunts, cousins. Priceless roles. The Zone Sports encourages you all to use this time to rediscover your true value.
Stay safe and well and in The Zone.