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OPINION: Minor League baseball should stay

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This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

There’s a chance that the Orem Owlz and Ogden Raptors will no longer be playing baseball in Utah.

I hate this.

Senator Bernie Sanders agrees with me—or I agree with him.

Nobody is more shocked than I; but Bernie is right.

The Democratic Presidential Candidate issued a statement saying, “Closing down Minor League teams like the Ogden Raptors and Orem Owlz would be a disaster for baseball fans, workers, and communities across Utah. We must protect these teams from corporate greed.”

The Raptors and Owlz of the Pioneer League might be closing down because the minor-league players are suing Major League Baseball (MLB) to get a raise in pay—to minimum wage.

This is no joke.

MLB has responded to the pay raise request by threatening to shutter, or close down, their affiliation with some low-level minor league teams. Since MLB teams pay the salaries for all minor league players, cutting ties with the Raptors and Owlz would likely be franchise ending.

These are the same owners that have handed out $300 million dollar contracts to Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, parent club to the Orem Owlz, signed outfielder Mike Trout to a 12-year, $426.5 million dollar contract—btw, totally worth it—but, you’re trying to tell me that you can’t afford your Pioneer League second baseman for $7.25 an hour. The concessions worker makes more!

My dad, John Noriega, was drafted twice by Major League Baseball.  

He signed with the Cincinnati Reds in 1966 after getting drafted in the fourth round of the MLB Amateur Draft. His signing bonus was $24,000– in today’s wages.

If he were to be drafted in the fourth round today, his signing bonus would be around $450-thousand.

Minor leaguers live or die on the signing bonus. If you are drafted early, like Lone Peak pitcher Seth Corry (3rd Round, Giants), you can get a monstrous bonus; Corry got $1 million. If your signing bonus is high, then spending years in the minors, making peanuts, is palatable; if not, then you are living hand-to-mouth playing 154-game schedule for 5.5 months– without a day off.

Levi Weaver of The Athletic had this rough breakdown of salaries in the minors.

AAA: $11,825-$14,850

AA: $9,350+ per year

High-A, Low-A: $6,050-8,400 per year

Nearly six straight months on the job, without a day off for less than $15,000.

Bernie is right on this one.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play