Mets Facing Criticism For Barring Minor Leaguers From Fancy New Port St. Lucie Clubhouse

Locker Room Will Go Unused 10 Months Of Years

Ryan Chatelain
February 11, 2020 - 1:34 pm

The Mets spent Monday showing off what $57 million bought in renovations to their spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida. But their state-of-the-art clubhouse overshadowed the other features — and not necessarily for good reasons.

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The clubhouse itself is, by all accounts, beautiful — plenty of space, high ceilings, large TVs, leather couches, murals of Mets greats depicted as both major and minor leaguers. But the organization has been heavily criticized since chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon revealed that only major leaguers will be able to use the clubhouse, not the Single-A St. Lucie Mets, who play at the same site after the big leaguers head north for the regular season.

Wilpon said the fancy clubhouse will serve as a reminder of the status the minor leaguers are working to achieve. As a result, it will sit unused for 10 months of every year.

That fact did not sit well with media members and former players. And all of this comes against the backdrop of Major League Baseball seeking to contract dozens of minor league teams in an effort to improve conditions for minor league players, many of whom don’t earn a living wage.

“Tough to forget you’re in A-Ball when you’re rationing 2 plates of spaghetti for 25 guys after games but, sure, leather couches will go to their heads,” former Met Ty Kelly wrote on Twitter.

“As if having 6 dudes living in a 2 bedroom apartment isn’t enough of a reminder that you’re in A ball,” added PJ Conlon, who pitched in the Mets’ system the past several seasons.

Sports Illustrated’s Dan Gartland wrote of the situation: “(I)t’s just so stupid and mean to spend millions of dollars constructing a high-end workplace that will only be used for six weeks of the year and then let it collect dust for six months while another group of employees is sent to an inferior space.”

“The examples of how the MLB system takes advantage of grossly underpaid and under-supported minor leaguers are well documented,” wrote Andrew Joseph of USA Today’s For The Win. “But this decision from the Mets epitomizes how needlessly cruel big-league clubs are to the affiliates.”

“Minor leaguers get paid crap, they get put up in the worst hotels, and they're often accustomed to the playing in the worst conditions at the worst times. Let them use some nice freakin' lockers, Mets. Jeez,” Sporting News’ Joe Rivera wrote.

To be fair, the Mets’ minor leaguers’ clubhouse also received an upgrade, and they’re not exactly slumming it. But it’s certainly smaller and less luxurious than the other one.