The New York Mets have unveiled a $57m spring training facility, but they won’t let their minor league players use the clubhouse.
The Mets train and play in Port St Lucie, Florida, in the preseason, which is due to start later this month. The new facilities include renovations to the stadium as well as a refurbished locker room, kitchen and dining room. However, when the Mets move north to New York for the regular season the team’s minor league outfit, the St Lucie Mets, will not be allowed to use the new clubhouse, instead using older, more basic facilities elsewhere in the building. The Mets only paid $2m of the bill for the upgrade, with St Lucie taxpayers picking up the rest. The new clubhouse will only be used for six weeks a year.
The most striking part of the Mets' $57 million spring training renovation may be the home clubhouse. The Mets are only using it for Spring Training, not for the St. Lucie regular season, to give minor leaguers a reminder of the status they're working to earn. pic.twitter.com/k1b3vTTkj3
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) February 10, 2020
The Mets came under heavy criticism from fans and players after MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo first reported the news. Minor league players struggle to make minimum wage and often have second jobs to support themselves, while average salaries in MLB are around $4m a year.
DiComo reported that the minor league players would have to use the inferior facilities to show they had to fight to make the step up to the majors. “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,” wrote former Mets player Ty Kelly on Twitter, referencing the furnishings in the new clubhouse.
The Mets are one of the most fleabitten franchises in MLB. Fans were hoping for a brighter future when news emerged their unpopular owners, the Wilpon family, were in talks to sell the club to billionaire Steve Cohen. However, that deal fell through earlier this month.