It's the love of the game, isn't it?
The thing that brings us all back, year after year. Even if our stories are different, the heart is the same: we just love this game.
For something like 1% of those who ever take up the game on the field, playing professionally eventually becomes a reality. And while yes, it's "the love of the game" that got them there, the game doesn't always love them back.
You know this. I've shouted this before. Kyle has been pounding the same drum.
Minor League life is the first step to a major life upgrade... but only if you can survive it.
We've quoted the stats -- that A Ball players make $1,100 a month... and that's before taxes and dues and rent; that baseball made $1+ billion in profits last year; that for the cost of one, average Major League salary (~$4 million), every minor league player in an organization could make upwards of $20,000 a season.
And yet, most teams did not follow suit.
Even worse, those same underpaid players are now in a bigger bind than ever.
You see, Spring Training is unpaid. Minor Leaguers don't start getting those small checks until they're placed on a regular season roster. They know this. They plan for this. They arrange leases and offseason work to carefully budget their lives until that first check (since August!) finally comes. But, with all spring camps shutting down to (wisely) help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and most clubs sending all minor league personnel "home," (even though some have no place to stay once they arrive wherever home is...) these guys -- this kids who fell in love with the game and grew up to become professionals at playing it -- might not be able to survive the layoff.
In the words of one such minor leaguer himself:
That's where we come in.
Life has paused all around us in some form or another. And while it's easy to think about how that's impacting each of us personally, it's also given us an immediate and clear challenge to be the kind of help so many are going to need.
So, we're teaming up with More Than Baseball to help ease the financial burden of as many players as we can until baseball comes back.
Here are two ways you can do that:
As always, @cardinalsgifs has worked his magic on a new line of Birds on the Black merchandise. A logo that's a subtle nod to both MiLB and killer, retro baseball cards will be featured on all the cool stuff you can find at the link below.
And, just like with every other fundraising campaign we've run at this site, all of the proceeds will go directly to More Than Baseball's campaign.
Cool logo + new swag + helping MiLBers... could any project get MORE BotB-ish?!
Because honestly, what else are we going to do without the thing we love the most??