Minor League ballplayers usually have it tough enough, but with the baseball season currently up in the air, things are a whole lot worse for those chasing their dreams. MLB has offered up some financial help, but not enough to truly survive for any given stretch. Moreover, it comes with an expiration date.
Adopt a Minor Leaguer is looking to do more.
Founded by Michael Rivers earlier this year, Adopt a Minor Leaguer is a non-profit organization aiming to help players throughout MLB farm systems who are in need. The goal is to match up prospects with fan sponsors.
The 39-year-old is a self-described average joe waiter who has been out of work since mid-March thanks to COVID-19. He explains more about the vision of Adopt a Minor Leaguer.
Our organization finds Minor league players in need and matches them up with fan sponsors for a 1 on 1 sponsorship. Sponsorship entails sending care packages, gift cards, money, etc worth $100 to $150 a month for the season.
So why was this program a passion for Michael?
My father was diagnosed with cancer and I needed something to feel good about. I had been following former Twins minor leaguer and now independent ball player Todd Van Steensel for years. At the same time as the news of my dad hit, he had posted stories of the minor leagues of just how little they got paid and how most guys struggle. I contacted Todd through Twitter and asked if i could help. I sent him some money and asked if there were any current Twins minor leaguers that also needed help. Two and a half months later we have helped 392 players find sponsors!
In fact, this program launched in February, well before the coronavirus upended things for baseball. Rivers told Sports Illustrated more about his realization of how little most farm players make.
I started to see more about the truth about what minor leaguers don’t get paid, that they don’t get paid for spring training, and they get paid very little during the season. And at that point, I was like ‘giving always makes you feel better.’ – Sports Illustrated, 2020
As we all struggle with a bevy of issues during the shutdown spurred by the coronavirus, some are hit much harder than others for sure. Unfortunately, when you look at baseball, minor league players might some of the people hit worse of all.
We’re all in this together!