Back in the fall, Major League Baseball announced it was implementing initiatives that would see its teams provide housing to "certain" minor-league players, thereby aiding a group commonly exploited by the league. MLB's new housing policies were criticized on Thursday by Advocates for Minor Leagues. The group issued a statement pointing out several flaws in MLB's housing plan and demanded greater input in policymaking.
"While the new policy represents a massive player victory, the specifics of the policy were determined unilaterally by MLB, which neither asked for nor received our input," the statement read in part. The full statement can be seen below, but Advocates' biggest issues with the policy are: 1) not affording every player the privacy of their own bedroom; 2) not accommodating players who are married or who have children; and 3) using host families or hotel rooms in place of apartments.
Last season, Minor League players organized around a decades-old housing crisis.— Advocates for Minor Leaguers (@MiLBAdvocates) January 27, 2022
In November, MLB promised to solve the crisis once and for all.
This season, Minor Leaguers will be holding them to that promise.
Full statements here: pic.twitter.com/JEH5z7GB1P
Minor-league players are not paid livable wages, meaning several players often have to pool their resources when it comes to housing costs. That can, in turn, result in numbers of players sharing bedrooms, and even in some players having to sleep in closets. Minor-league players are not represented by the MLB Players Association, and they haven't yet formed a union of their own, the way minor-league players have in the National Basketball Association.
"The shortcomings of the new league-wide policy demonstrate once again why it is imperative that Minor League players be given a seat at the table," an additional statement issued by Advocates' executive director Harry Marino read. "Private discussions between partners will always yield better results than policy changes implemented unilaterally in order to quell public pressure."
It's unclear at this point if MLB will amend their policies to address the flaws highlighted by Advocates for Minor Leaguers. Even with the big-league players locked out by MLB's owners, the 2022 minor-league season is expected to begin as scheduled.