PEARL, Miss. (WJTV) — 2019 Mississippi Brave pitcher and former Southern Miss stand out Bradley Roney is counting the days until baseball is back. The MLB’s delayed season is, in a sense, forcing minor league players into another off season.
“We were playing the Tigers that day when everything got shut down and we were sitting in the bull pen just you know talking about things that could happen and what’s going on,” said Roney. “And, then we had people..fans at the game you know come and ask the bull pen like ‘hey, have you heard they’re shutting down spring training’, and we were like no we haven’t heard anything we’re at a game obviously we can’t check our phones we haven’t heard anything.”
“I think the game ended and we had learned that you know they had shut down spring training,” said Roney. “We weren’t initially in a panic and then I guess the statement was made by Major League Baseball they wanted everyone to go home. It kind of, it kind of shocked us initially because you know me and my teammates this is what we do; this is what we played all year for then we train when we’re not playing just to be able to play. What became the issue is you have this period of time when you are not working…you know we are contract workers.”
One of the cruelest coincidences of the shutdown is that it happened near the end of spring training, a period during which minor league players are not paid for their labor beyond their standard per diems. Therefore, players were not compensated since the end of last season.
“It’s good to see that you know they are taking a little initiative and doing something to help us out because guys like me and guys like my teammates you know we’re under contract and if it came down to it where we weren’t able to play the season we’re not technically able to file for unemployment. We’re all struggling. You know like we’re all in the same situation and some people aren’t allowed to work right now.”
Players on the 40-man roster will receive payment equal to what they would have made up until April 8th, but as of now it is still unclear on how the MLB intends to help out minor league players beyond that time frame as the season continues to delay.