The nonprofit organization More Than Baseball announced on Thursday that Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright and his wife Jenny donated $250,000 to provide assistance to Cardinals minor leaguer during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The start of the regular season for both Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball were delayed in accordance with CDC guidelines.
It is not clear yet when the regular season will begin. Minor league players are not paid during spring training and typically make, as More Than Baseball notes, between $1,170 and $1,650 per month for five months of the minor league season. Thanks to MTB and other advocates, players will be paid $400 per week through April 9, which would have been the start of the minor league season. The league is still in the process of addressing what happens beyond April 9. Cardinals minor leaguers, at least, will have a safety net provided by Wainwright.
Wainwright’s gesture is, of course, incredible. It shouldn’t have been necessary, however, as minor leaguers should have already been paid a living wage and their salaries guaranteed during this crisis. Wainwright has earned more than $140 million over his career, but MLB took in over $10 billion in revenues last year alone. It is the billionaire owners across the sport, not the millionaires that constitute part of the labor force, that should be reaching out of pocket to take care of minor leaguers.