When COVID-19 shut down Spring Training, many Minor League Baseball players weren't sure what their next move was going to be. Do they stay in Arizona or Florida? Do they go back home? Their second worry was how they were going to provide for their families while the entire sports
When COVID-19 shut down Spring Training, many Minor League Baseball players weren't sure what their next move was going to be. Do they stay in Arizona or Florida? Do they go back home? Their second worry was how they were going to provide for their families while the entire sports world was put on hold.
When people think of baseball salaries, they first think of the big-money contracts. The Mike Trouts and Bryce Harpers of the baseball world. However, money in the minors isn't as glamorous as those Major League contracts. The average MiLB player makes $6,500 at the low-A level and then works up to an average of $15,000 in Triple-A. They receive all of their pay during the season; if they aren't in-season, they aren't getting a paycheck.
Fortunately, that's where a few baseball wives stepped in to help.
Alysa Bajenaru, wife of Aces Pitching Coach, Jeff Bajenaru, is one of the founding members of Our Baseball Life; a community for baseball families.
"It started out when everything stopped and everyone was sent home," recalls Alysa. "We were the people that everyone was coming to just asking all of these questions; so we were trying to get them accurate information and get them connected with any kind of help that they needed. Then we had some Major League families who contacted us and said, 'Hey, are there any Minor League families that you can connect us with that need help that we can just connect with one-on-one?'. So we started with that kind of as a sponsorship program. But then the need quickly outweighed the amount of people that were stepping forward to help; just as far as matching people up one-by-one."
That's when Our Baseball Life was introduced to More Than Baseball.
"More than Baseball is a non-profit that is able to handle collecting these donations and distributing them out to the players and families that need it. We partnered with them to create the MiLB Family Fund. Now we're just raising as much money as possible and then applications will open up really soon for the Minor League players and families to apply for a grant."
Since the shutdown, the MiLB Family Fund has raised almost half of a million dollars. Adam Wainwright and his wife, Jenny, donated $250,000 that went strictly to Cardinals players. Daniel and Tori Murphy donated $100,000 to the general fund. The rest are funds raised by the baseball community.
Our Baseball Life and More than Baseball have also created a t-shirt that can be purchased here, with all money raised from the sales goes directly into the fund. So far, an additional $2,000 has been raised to support the cause.
Because at the end of the day, it's about bringing the baseball community together during these unprecedented times. We wait for the day that the world is safe enough for us to resume play.
More information about Our Baseball Life is available here, and more info on More Than Baseball is available here. More than Baseball is also accepting donations here.