Antitrust, Baseball, Football, Labor / Employment

The Labor Law Origins Of The Infield Fly Rule

“Lane Dean, Jr., with his green rubber pinkie finger, sat at his Tingle table in his chalk’s row in the rotes group’s wiggle room and did two more returns, then another one, then flexed his buttocks and held to a count of ten and imagined a warm pretty beach with mellow surf, as instructed in orientation the previous month.”– David Foster Wallace

“The thing that makes ‘Dirty Jobs’ different is that it’s one of the few shows that portrays work in a way that doesn’t highlight the drudgery. Instead, it highlights the humor.”– Mike Rowe

Yesterday was like any other. I stared at my computer screen and tried to appear as if I were doing work. I went to the bathroom three times even though there was no there there. At one point, I was asked to wear a name tag. If there is any humor at all in what I do, it is of a type so dark and weird, it could only be appreciated in Germany. I graduated from a pretty good, very expensive law school and I was asked to wear a name tag yesterday. Yesterday was like any other.

I don’t know why the hell I whine like this. Like Cherry Valance said, it’s rough all over. And besides, everyone else is trying to get through their day, name tag or no. There was an old lady with five plastic bags next to her on the train yesterday morning. Each bag was filled with more plastic bags. And on and on. You want to know sadness, check out this old lady’s Matryoshka bags that keep her company throughout the day.

But you want to know who really has it bad? Minor league baseball players and Bengals cheerleaders.

Let’s talk employment lawsuits…

YOU KNOW, YOU NEVER APPLY FOR FOOD STAMPS IN THE SHOW

This week, Michael McCann wrote about a lawsuit filed by minor league baseball players against the whole damned system. The lawsuit alleges that players are paid unlawfully low wages and forced to work overtime. It further alleges that the dude who just spit in your burger makes more than them:

The lawsuit portrays minor league players as members of the working poor, and that’s backed up by data. Most earn between $3,000 and $7,500 for a five-month season. As a point of comparison, fast food workers typically earn between $15,000 and $18,000 a year, or about two or three times what minor league players make. Some minor leaguers, particularly those with families, hold other jobs during the offseason and occasionally during the season.

Left out of this calculation is the fact that if they hit bull, they win steak. I’d like to see Donnie down at Fuddruckers compete with that sort of benefits package.

McCann goes on to note that the players face an uphill battle in taking on baseball. The antitrust exemption, a relic of when radio was king and baseball was considered exciting, makes an appearance:

Baseball has been able to pay minor leaguers low wages partly because of a historical exemption from antitrust law. The exemption allows baseball to unilaterally set salaries and working conditions for minor league players. Without this exemption, minor league players could theoretically sue under the Sherman Act, and argue that big league and minor league owners have conspired to unreasonably limit salaries. While this exemption was narrowed by the Curt Flood Act of 1998, it remains in effect for Minor League Baseball.

The antitrust exemption for baseball was originally enshrined in a decision written by Oliver Wendell Holmes. He famously wrote that “three generations of utility infielders is enough.” Holmes, you see, lived in a time that did not know of Jose Oquendo.

Anyway, the players claim that baseball is violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and state laws that regulate minimum wage and overtime rules. If the players are successful with their lawsuit, expect them to become fat and happy. Which, all things considered, is not a terrible outcome. John Kruk was a .300 hitter after all.

GIVE ME A DOLLAR!

The world of cheerleading has been rocked recently by multiple high-profile lawsuits. From the Raider gals to Sarah Jones, cheerleading has proven to be the asbestos of butt shaking and boob jiggling.

And so it was that a Bengals cheerleader filed her own lawsuit against the team that employs her. Like minor league baseball players, cheerleaders are paid like fast food workers. Here, specifically, pizza delivery drivers:

The complaint, filed by Alexa Brenneman, claims that the cheerleaders receive at most $90 per game. The Bengals cheerleaders allegedly aren’t paid for practice time, mandatory non-game appearances, and other activities.

She estimates that, based on the total time she spent working in 2013, her hourly rate of pay was $2.85, $5 less than the minimum wage in Ohio.

The Bengals counter that, while the wages they pay their cheerleaders are low by Ohio standards, they represent gaudy wealth in Myanmar.

It is unclear whether other Ben-GALS will join Brenneman. What is clear, however, is that cheerleaders of the world are quickly uniting. They have nothing to lose but their panties.

RAP SHEET ROLL CALL

* Two Tennessee football players were arrested on alcohol charges. I didn’t read the article, but I assume it has something to do with running moonshine.

* UFC fighter Thiago Silva was arrested last week after participating in a standoff with police. I don’t know why I worded it like that. Like he was in some after school activity. Participating in a spelling bee or some sh*t.

* An Auburn signee was arrested on drug charges. The four gram prospect was expected to battle for a spot in the Tigers’ secondary this season.

In lawsuit minor leaguers charge they are members of ‘working poor’ [CNNSI]
Bengals cheerleader files class action alleging wage violations [ProFootballTalk]

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