Kentucky congressman Brett Guthrie and Illinois congresswoman Cheri Bustos have introduced a new piece of legislation to the House of Representatives -- and yes, it's relevant to baseball.
Guthrie and Bustos have joined together to pen the Save America's Pastime Act. Essentially, Guthrie and Bustos are pushing against the idea (and a class-action lawsuit) that minor-league players should receive more pay than they do -- or, in legal terms, they don't believe ballplayers should be eligible for overtime pay benefits that are normally afforded to hourly workers. Guthrie and Bustos allege that paying minor-league players more would threaten minor-league baseball's ability to exist.
Here's the full release on the Act, which Minor League Baseball (obviously) supports:
Congressman Brett Guthrie and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos introduce the Save America's Pastime Act in House of Reps pic.twitter.com/AL8ohwqwuo— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) June 29, 2016
For another perspective, consider these points:
In four years since he signed his first contract, recent call-up Mike Miller has made a total of about $40,000. https://t.co/U29P6pzjo1— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) June 29, 2016
Meanwhile, Major League Baseball's teams took in about $9 billion and paid major-league players in the neighborhood of $4 billion last year.— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) June 29, 2016
Miller's story is more commonplace than most realize. The great majority of minor-league players are those who didn't receive large signing bonuses to turn professional, and those who are without legitimate big-league futures. They'll play until the real-world demands beckon, or until a coaching position opens up, or until teams stop offering jobs, and that's that. Sure, their big-league counterparts are often well-compensated -- some extraordinarily so -- but the average minor-league player is playing because of their passion for the game rather than the paycheck.
No matter which side you fall on, it doesn't look like the fight over minor-league salaries is going anywhere soon.