The Major League Baseball Draft still doesn’t get the buzz that either the National Football League or the National Basketball Association’s drafts get but there is now more awareness. It’s televised on the MLB Network and Major League Baseball holds a luncheon on the first day at their Park Avenue headquarters that attracts the top draftees, former players, executives, and broadcasters, as well as the media.
While those players taken in the first round of the MLB Draft such as 2016 Mets draftees Justin Dunn and Anthony Kay will get huge signing bonuses, the majority of those selected in the later rounds will not be so fortunate. Minor league pay at the AA ball level or less is at best $2,000 per month (and sometimes it’s a lot less than that) and that is only for a five-month season.
Garrett Broshuis spent five years in the San Francisco Giants minor league system. After the Giants cut him he went to law school. Broshuis is passed the Missouri bar exam and shortly thereafter filed a class action suit against Major League Baseball contending that it violated federal wage laws by compensating minor leaguers below minimum wage levels. Broshuis was profiled on HBO’s “Real Sports” in October 2014. The lawsuit is still working its way through the court system.
Attending the 2016 MLB Draft luncheon was former Mets outfielder Jason Bay, who is now a consultant with the Pirates was himself drafted in the 22nd round of the 2000 draft by the now defunct Montreal Expos. “The odds are against you getting to the Major Leagues so playing minor league ball is the equivalent of buying a lottery ticket. If I didn’t make it I would have wasted four years of my life and would have been economically far behind people my age who had regular jobs.,” Bay told me.
Ryan Ludwick, who had a very good 12-year big league career, and is now a roving minor league instructor for the St. Louis Cardinals. I asked him if the players who he is teaching ever ask him about financial survival. “The players can relate to me because I am not that much older than they are. We absolutely have those discussions.”
Mets infielder Ty Kelly finally made it to majors this year after spending seven years in the minors. When I asked him how he was able to keep his head above water Kelly didn’t sugarcoat things. “My parents fully supported me,” he replied.
Former commissioner Bud Selig was fond of discussing baseball’s social responsibilities. When I asked him about the Broshuis lawsuit in October 2014 he simply said to me, “The owners will do the right thing.”
They may have no choice but to do so if they want to promote diversity because a lot of minority players don’t have parents who have the resources to support their dream.
Jim Marshall, who was an original Met, is now working for the Arizona Diamondbacks as a talent evaluator. He told me that playing on the 1962 Mets, statistically the worst baseball team of all-time, was one of the greatest experiences of his life and that he was saddened when he was traded away a year later. “(Mets manager) Casey Stengel never knew my name but his comedy act kept the writers entertained and kept the focus off of the players. He was brilliant.”
Marshall was not happy about how the Mets have treated the surviving members of that 1962 team. “They have never asked us to come to Citi Field even during their 50th anniversary season four years ago.” He contrasted that with how the Yankees were about to hold their 70th annual Old-Timers Day that took place this past Sunday.
Dick Enberg, the TV voice of the San Diego Padres, is set to retire at the end of this season. He told me that he doesn’t mind the fact that his farewell is getting less attention that of LA Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully. “I am looking forward to traveling and doing things that I couldn’t to before,” the amiable Enberg told me.
Congratulations to Yankees media director Jason Zillo for completing another HOPE (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) Week. This was the eighth straight year, that Zillo, his staff, and other Yankees personnel visited worthy organizations, most of them very small, who work hard to improve the lives of others while getting very little, if anything, in return economically. This has become the gold standard of professional sports team community outreach.
Famed chef Bobby Flay is a master of not only culinary arts but of timing as well. A week before the Belmont Stakes he purchased a minority interest in Creator who of course was the winner on Saturday.
There are still six weeks left on the Belmont Park calendar before the racing shifts to Saratoga. Yet the New York Racing Association continues to do next to nothing in coming up with promotions to get people to the track after the Belmont Stakes. It was a good idea to have Daughtry perform after the big race but why not have a few more name acts play the beautiful Belmont backyard on Saturday afternoons to bring in new customers?
Former NFL running back Willis McGahee who played 11 seasons in the NFL, is one of the cast members on E!’s new relationship show, “Famously Single” which airs on Tuesdays at 10 PM. When I mentioned to him at a press event for the show that he upset a lot of Jets fans by having some of his best games in his career against Gang Green, he quickly smiled and said “I always loved playing against them!” Willis told me that he is returning to the University of Miami to complete his degree in criminology. He also added that he would like a career in the entertainment industry and hopes that this show will help him get his foot in the door.
The Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau came to town last Thursday to promote its beaches, wineries, and other tourist attractions to the press. As part of the presentation, the LICVB showed images of great athletes who grew up on the Island that included basketball legend Julius Erving and Mets pitcher Steven Matz.
Editor Showcase is the quarterly trade show in which the food industry introduces new products to the media. If you are looking for a tasty and low calorie snack, Good Health’s Half Naked Popcorn with a Hint of Olive Oil is a good option. Lifeway sampled its new watermelon kefir which is a yogurt-like drink. For those with a sweet tooth, Sara Lee is rolling out individually wrapped peanut butter creme cakes.
I know that it’s good for you but I have to admit that I never liked vegetable juices because the taste wasn’t fun. A fairly new company, Daily Greens (drinkdailygreens.com) must have figured that there were a lot of people like me because they have come up with varieties of veggie juices that are delicious, and yes, good for your well-being.
James Corden, host of CBS’s “The Late Late Show” that tapes in Los Angeles, had a big week in New York last week. He was a presenter at the Songwriters Hall of Fame on Thursday and on Sunday he hosted the Tony Awards. He has won a lot of attention on social media with his “Carpool Karaoke” videos in which he gets performers to sing their hits in a car with him as he drives.
It will be interesting to see if CBS tries to move Corden into the high wattage 11:30 slot in the near future and move Stephen Colbert, who has struggled there, to 12:30. CBS chief executive office Leslie Moonves is a big fan of Corden’s and he hates to lose any timeslot battle, and in particular, that one.