|Albertus Barber, image- Jay Floyd|
If you simply mind the masses on social networking platforms, you'd think minor league players are really getting the shaft as baseball, among other sports, has shut down completely while the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic. That's not the case in every prospect's mind.
While there were recently loads of people advocating for teams to pay their minor league talent as it became clear that members of each big league club's 40-man roster won't miss a payday and that stadium staffers can expect to be taken care of as well, some individuals in the minors already feel like they are being compensated quite well.
Pitcher Albertus Barber is perfectly happy with every single bit of treatment by his parent club to date, as the Phillies are still hosting many out-of-towners in Clearwater, FL, while their baseball and training facilities are closed.
"They’re taking care of us like kings and giving us everything we need," Barber stated. "For those unable to go back home we’re still getting paid and receiving three meals a day."
The players that get to stay are being put up in a local hotel and get three daily meals covered by the organization. The designations for which individuals get to stay don't seem to be strict, but it's for players who can't go home or don't have homes to go to, mostly international players.
Some players balked at the initial announcement that Major League Baseball confirmed that players would receive their weekly allowances up to April 8th. That total would vary, but was said to be roughly be $80 per player. Barber, however, isn't bothered by that and is confident that the Phillies will continue to do right by its promising young players.
Arrangements from April 9th and beyond are yet to be announced.
Asked why the reactions might vary so much between different players, the right-hander's response was emphatic.
"'Cause I don't give a (damn) about money," Barber shared starkly. "I’ve wanted to live this dream my whole life, man. As long as you give me a food and a bed, or at least the money to cover that, I’ll be happy. All I give a (crap) about is playing ball."
Some players may have families to support, loan payments or other bills so an interruption to compensation could potentially be cause for alarm, Barber's not one of those guys. He's fully satisfied with his status, citing a decades-long path that put him exactly where he is today.
"My whole entire life has been planned around this and only this. Since I was, like, four years old," the 24-year-old said. "I assessed and calculated every single risk and move I could and couldn't take by the time I was 19 and realistically, everything else can wait. I'm busy."
Barber was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Phillies for $1000 in 2019 after sitting out since the previous year, because he was declared ineligible after taking online college courses following the 2018 MLB draft.
Combined at three levels (Rookie level Gulf Coast League, short-season Class A Williamsport and Class A Lakewood), Barber tallied a 4-0 record with a save, a 0.87 ERA, a .222 batting average against and a 10.0 K/9 average in 14 relief appearances.
The forethought that went into all of the Oklahoma native's devising includes not consuming alcohol (barring an occasional social obligation), running multiple side hustles including working as a janitor and selling personal belongings that he didn't need, including his own car.
All of those things allow Barber to support himself and maximize his chances of being a professional athlete, describing his situation like scraping to start a new business. Eliminating distractions and things that weren't beneficial to his ultimate goal of trying to compete at the professional level aren't always convenient, but he's confident that it's all worth it.
"One day you’re making a lot of money, or you fail, but that’s the beauty of it. The point is, (screw) it. Sacrifices are (freaking) awesome if you end up making it. So give it all up, make it 'life or death', and go take what’s yours."