Here we go again…
I’m sure that’s what most readers are thinking when they see this title.
And you know what? They’re right.
I was hoping there wouldn’t have to be a post like this again after what went down last summer with those start-up leagues, but here we are.
The Empire League has been going on for over a month. Games have been played (including the All-Star game), a few players have been promoted, and everything from an outsider’s perspective seems to be going well… except for one small little detail that no one has mentioned.
As it turns out – according to the multiple players who have reached out to Indy Ball Island – none of the players or staff have been paid.
Players were promised pay once a month (or twice a month depending on whenever the sponsors decided to send the checks). When players ask about where these checks are, they keep being told that the sponsors are getting the money and sending it to the league for the players’ pay. So far, no one has seen a dime.
That’s not all. There have been stories about players having to play games with the “official league balls” used for little league practice. Players have also been forced to sleep inside a rest stop when their team van broke down while other players have been driving themselves back and forth to games on the road. One team, the Watertown Bucks, even had a Go Fund Me set up – no money has been raised.
The players are trying to make the most of it and keep pushing along. They get to play ball and have some fun doing it, but they’re also starting to run into some financial issues that just can’t be ignored anymore. Most of these guys paid for spring training out of pocket and have been trying to live and play baseball with their own money for well over a month. They have been promised a salary, yet the excuses keep coming and the pay date keeps being pushed further and further back.
It’s time for the Empire League to step up and pay these guys who have been playing hard for over a month just trying to live the dream, but who are now just trying to live.