Minor League Organization helps players make ends meet during COVID-19

Charlotte Stone Crabs pitcher Simon Rosenblum-Larson pitches at Spectrum Field in 2019. (Photo: Scott Lusby/Spectrum)

ST. PETERSBURG, FL. – MLB owners and players are fighting
over millions of dollars as they try to solve their differences for one
shortened season. Minor league players wonder if they are going to get it
any type of season.

  • MLB is offering $ 400 per week to MiLB players through May 31.
  • More Than Baseball aims to bridge the gap of financial difficulties that players regularly face.
  • The Minor League season is rumored to be canceled for 2020.

“Most guys kind of accept that it probably isn’t
season, “said Conner O’Neil, a relief pitcher for St. Lucie
Mets (NY Mets). “If they struggle so much for a season in the big league
much more happens for a minor league season. ”

When COVID-19 stopped baseball spring training, the
the majority of minor league players dispersed the country – most of them returned home
live with family or friends. MLB has done its best to help some of the financial affairs
hardships, making each player $ 400 a week through May 31.

“To ensure that MLB continues to pay at least what we earn
during the season, if not a little bit more, is actually a very generous move and
shows a good understanding of situations, “said Simon
Rosenblum-Larson, a pitcher for the Rays-organization for the Charlotte Stone

But that’s as far as MLB went; leave players to find others
means paying for food, rent or utilities. The More Than Baseball organization,
run by real little leaguers, has been busy filling that financial void
struggling players.

“About a week and a half ago we reimbursed 110 different ones
players up to $ 75 in groceries, so we basically paid $ 8,000
messages, ”said Rosenblum-Larson, who serves as the player’s president and director
staff for more than baseball.

His organization is also in the middle of fundraising
campaign with a goal of $ 2 million for a player scholarship. To date they have
received about $ 500,000.

“It’s a need-based stipend,” said Rosenblum-Larson. “We have
included in $ 250,000 by Adam Wainwright, which is split among Cardinals
players, and Daniel Murphy brought in $ 100.00 for the Player Scholarship Program.
We have a corporate donor, a big league advance that made $ 100,000. ‘

Money does not solve all problems. Players struggle with it
find places to train and stay in shape. Some have become creative.

“I actually built a squat rack out of plywood and 2×4’s in it
my aunt and uncle’s basement, ”said Rosenblum-Larson, who trained

While Mets minor league pitcher Conner O’Neil a
other struggle – trying to find a good place to rehabilitate Tommy John

“I was left alone to find a PT place that would take my place
workers’ comp ‘,’ said O’Neil, who is with family in California, one of the
strictest state regarding Safe-At-Home orders during this pandemic. “So,
I drive 40 minutes every day to get to PT and then I drive back. ”

These players will do everything they can to get informed again
field. It’s not about the money. But it is for baseball. Before the COVID-19
MLB pandemic was already considering the deletion of about 40 minor affiliates
to balance the books. Some fear that this could be the perfect excuse.

“It’s not like MLB hurts for money or something,” said
Oh no. “Every chance they get seems like they are going to grab it when they do
can save a few dollars. ‘

MLB will likely find a way to celebrate its season. Fans
will be able to view their favorite teams and players. But some are afraid while they are
are in the spotlight, the minor leagues will disappear deeper and deeper
into the dark.