Tahoe Law Review: No recourse for minor league baseball players | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe Law Review: No recourse for minor league baseball players

If you are a baseball nut, especially if you like stats, this is your lucky day.

Several minor league baseball players filed an antitrust suit against former baseball commissioner Bud Selig and all of the owners of major league teams. The antitrust issues are as boring as a 15 inning, low-scoring game, but this opinion puts out lots of information I bet you don't know.


Major League Baseball (MLB) is an association consisting of thirty MLB franchises — clubs or teams. Each franchise employs approximately 40 baseball players on its "40-man roster," with up to 25 players on its "active roster," who play at the major league level. As part of MLB's "farm system," each franchise also employs 150 to 250 players, who compete at the minor league level. Although minor league players train and play for minor league clubs, they are employed by a MLB club.


MLB salary guidelines are not public, but according to this federal lawsuit filed by a few minor league players, all first-year minor league players earn $1,100 per month, Class-A minor league players earn $1,250 per month, Class-AA minor league players earn $1,500 per month and Class-AAA minor league players earn $2,150. This suit alleges that most minor league players earn less than $7,500 a year. Minor league players receive no salary for spring training during which they work 50 to 60 hours a week. And you thought you were underpaid.


Minor league players must sign a Uniform Player Contract, which includes the so-called "reserve clause;" MLB franchises receive exclusive rights to their minor league players for seven years. The clause precludes players from playing for any other baseball team during the contract, whether or not the team is an MLB franchise. Wow!

Unlike major league baseball players, minor league players do not belong to a labor union and must engage in negotiations independently. I get why this suit was filed.


The suit claims MLB's hiring and employment policies violate federal antitrust laws by "restraining horizontal competition between and among MLB franchises and artificially and illegally depressing minor league salaries." A Sherman Act violation.

MLB owners claim it has long been established that baseball is exempt from federal antitrust laws, and that Congress specifically exempted minor league baseball when adopting the Curt Flood Act of 1998.

The plaintiff players argued that the courts should not "blindly apply outmoded, erroneous reasoning to an antitrust case." I think I agree.


The Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals without hesitation concluded that the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently allowed minor league baseball to be exempt from antitrust laws and that Congress in passing the Curt Flood Act allowed the exemption to continue. The court ruling concluded, "minor league baseball falls squarely within the nearly century-old business-of-baseball exemption from federal antitrust laws."

Standup and cheer loudly for those lowly paid Reno Aces and Sacramento River Cats.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. His practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOA's, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at porter@portersimon.com or http://www.portersimon.com.

Ted Gaines column: Gov. Brown’s fire tax hypocrisy a political spectacle

Gov. Brown is dangling elimination of the illegal "fire tax" as a sweetener for Republicans to vote for his incredibly expensive, pie-in-the-sky climate change scheme that would put billions upon billions of new costs on the backs of California families and businesses.

I hate the fire tax. It smacks of all the worst impulses of the elitist, urban, Legislature and their out-of-control spending. In 2011, an overextended Legislature and big spending governor cut a dirty deal to take $90 million from the CalFire budget and put it into the unaccountable general fund.

To backfill that $90 million hole (which they created), they concocted a blatantly illegal tax to punish Republicans for not playing along in sham budget negotiations. Rural property owners, mostly in Republican districts, had to pay, and are still paying, a $150 fee for every habitable structure in State Responsibility Areas.

It's a bogus tax and it's being challenged in court. I have tried time after time to kill it. I pushed an initiative to overturn it. I introduced bills to eliminate it in its entirety without a drop of support from the governor.

I tried to limit who had to pay the fee, and give a break to those people on limited incomes who were struggling to pay the bill. Not once did Gov. Brown step forward or lift a finger to help pass any of those bills.

I privately told the governor that since California, according to his own words, was operating with a budget surplus the past few years, that he should kill the illegal, discriminatory fire tax. He did nothing.

Now, in an incredible show of gumption, Brown is telling Republicans who don't support his gold-plated cap-and-trade legislation, which includes a suspension of the fire tax, not even a repeal, that THEY will be responsible for the tax.

Brown must have missed the past six years of my and other Republican attempts to kill it.

His climate change bill would chase people out of the state with increased costs. It could add an additional 73 cents to every gallon of gas. It would drive up electricity rates, which are already 50-percent higher than the national average. It would drive up the price of every single good and service we buy in the state, for everyone.

Throwing the fire tax into the climate change bill is political extortion. If Gov. Brown really wants to know who is responsible for shafting 800,000 rural property owners, he needs to look in the mirror.

And if the governor really believes his shakedown of rural taxpayers is a bad idea, my Senate Bill 9, which would repeal the fire tax forever, is in the Legislature right now.

I'm still waiting for his support.

State Sen. Ted Gaines represents California's 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

Tahoe Trout Farm has caught our hearts

For the third year in a row Tahoe Trout Farm has donated time, fish and kindness to the Barton Skilled Nursing Residents.

Jim and Jackie Vallier opened early one morning just for our residents to fish and catch the really big ones along with enjoying getting out and getting exercise. Jim and Jackie take the time to get us all set up and they allow each resident to fish and take home what they want.

Jim also has wonderful help that made sure that each resident fully enjoyed their fishing experience.

Thanks so much for all you have done for Barton Skilled Nursing and our community, you have truly caught our hearts!

Maureen Froyum

Barton Skilled Nursing Activity Director

Disappointing music for 4th fireworks show

We have always enjoyed the fireworks on the fourth, but this year we found the music disappointing. With the exception of two songs, it was NOT very patriotic. We need to celebrate our heritage, especially on July Fourth.


Rita Vargo


Need your help with historical artist painting search

Alpine County Historical Society is searching for paintings by artist Walt Monroe, for documentation and exhibit.

Monroe was born in Alpine County in the mining town of Monitor in 1881. He was a prolific artist, he painted, did pencil sketches and carvings. He generally signed his art work in the bottom right had corner, but of course, not always. We know that many area residents were given or purchased art work from the starving artist between 1895 and the 1940s. Walt Monroe had family ties to Alpine County, Carson City, Virginia City, Carson Valley, Mason Valley, Tonopah and Bishop.

He was so prolific, we know many longtime area residents may have one or more in the attic or hanging in grandma's house.

Last fall the Historical Society held a Walt Monroe art exhibit and reception at the Alpine County Museum where 16 of his paintings from private collections were exhibited for the first time. We know there are more out there. Recently someone purchased one of his painting at an area antique store.

The Alpine County Historical Society is holding another Walt Monroe art exhibit and reception on Friday, July 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. We have located enough for this exhibit but our main goal is to find more paintings for future exhibits and for documentation.

If you have Walt Monroe paintings or other art work, please contact Shannon Hickey at 775-315-0697 or Alpine County Historical Society at P.O. Box 517 Markleeville, CA 96120

Shannon Hickey

Alpine County Historical Society

Kinda blue about Blue Lakes Road situation

I have been going to Blue Lakes in Alpine County for 27 years. It was the first area I visited when I first moved to the Lake Tahoe Basin. I so love the area and still to this day it is my first pick to go to when the snow thaws.

On July 4 I read that Blue Lakes Road was closed at the fourth gate 7.4 miles in from Highway 88, which is Charity Valley. Back in 2003 the road was paved from the fourth gate all the way to the Lower Blue Lake. And I mean this road is the best road that surrounds the whole entire South Lake Tahoe region. The company that made the way and paved this road should get high recognition. To this day there is not a pot hole to be found all the way up.

My wife and I decided to go any way to visit the lower lake and walk in from that point, which is just under 4 miles to the lower lake of Blue Lakes. Within the first 10 minutes of walking up this snow-free, nice paved road we had to move quickly to the right due to a car that came down. Then some time late another came up behind us. I notice four-wheel drive tracts on a dirt road below us with tracts right through the little snow drift.

As we were walking I was thinking there is something wrong here. People have a key and private access to the lower lake and there is no snow anywhere. When we arrived at the Lower Lake about an hour and half later, I noticed a camper with bikes and of course the home owners were there. Didn't really let it bother me until on the way back. While we were there we saw three bald eagles and one flew in a tree about 50 yards from us, and the eagle watched and stared as I fished.

We stayed in a nice shaded spot for about four hours and then decided to walk back due to the long way ahead. We had to walk on a dry paved road closure for no apparent reason other than control. On the way back just leaving the Lower Lake we saw one of the grounds keeper. I asked "Is this county road closed or open?" And she quickly replied "CLOSED."

I said, "Why? There is no snow anywhere in sight except up high." Then she replied, "There is much blocking the dirt road to the upper lake."

Too bad I didn't have enough energy to walk the extra 2 miles to the upper lake to prove her wrong. I know that road to the upper lake will be muddy and in one little area maybe some snow, but is this the main reason to close the entire basin?

Absolutely not! Before the Blue Lakes Road was paved the Forest Service would open the fourth gate once the snow had melted and you could see the gate and at least a couple of miles of dry ground ahead. You entered at your own risk. Four-by-four vehicles only and if there was a snow drift you turned back and checked back the next week. And even in the heart of summer the road was extremely bad with a wash board feel and look about it — meaning it would practically beat up your four-wheel drive, but it was worth it. Nobody up there, no care takers, just pure magnificent beauty and freedom. And unbelievable cutthroat trout fishing. Even the private land owners up there could not get to use the area and the lake until the road was clear.

Blue Lake Road is a public road which means if you let one car through then all should be able to go through. I called Alpine County and asked why is the lake closed and got the answer "bad snow year." I let them know "you are wrong," there's no snow up there.

I have seen 325 percent snows back 20 years ago and this was not a factor. I asked, why don't you install a gate at the upper end where the county feels they don't want anybody to get stuck? And the county replied "we are trying." What this is telling me is that there is special interest playing a part in this now. I knew when the road was paved back in 2003 that it was the end of Blue Lakes like I knew it. Now the special interests have control and this is why I decided to write.

Nick Rouillard

Broker Associate

Tahoe Mom Talk: Summer activities for the Kids

Summer is here! This is my absolute favorite time of year … the days are long, the weather is gorgeous and our living space doubles as we're constantly in our backyard.

Raising two boys requires tons of activities to keep them busy and properly wear them out by bedtime. Here are some of my favorite summer activities:

Make it a Beach Day: It should go without saying that Tahoe summers require lots of time at the beach. Our favorite beach for the kids is Baldwin Beach. There is an inlet of water that streams into the lake and during "usual" summers the kids can splash around without as much worry. We bought our older son a kid's kayak and attached about 100 feet of rope to it so he can paddle around. He loves it! Don't forget to buy your beach pass to really maximize your beach days. Oh and little known tip, I find that Tahoe actually gets warmer as the day goes on, so hit the beach after work with some sandwiches and enjoy the summer evenings.

Family Bike Rides: I'm ashamed to admit that I did not own a bike until a couple weeks ago … what a game changer! We love taking bike rides around the neighborhood after work and riding to the park on the weekends. It's such a fun way to bond and stay active.

Catch a Concert: Between Lakeview Commons, Harvey's Concert Series and now AleWorX's outdoor patio, there are dozens of ways to catch live concerts. I personally loved when we had the 10th Tee Concert Series out at Lake Tahoe Golf Course (bring it back!) where we would set up picnic blankets and let the kids run wild. That said, I have to give a big kudos to AleWorX for creating a family-friendly environment for their customers to enjoy.

Peruse the Farmer's Market: We're so lucky to have several farmer's markets that are family friendly. The Friday Night Farmer's Market on Ski Run is great for kids … there is a popsicle cart along with lots of fun activities for the kids. The bonus is that you can grab dinner at Blue Angel Cafe or Chimayó on your way out.

Dine al Fresco (at home!): Though we love to go out to eat, barbecuing in your own backyard definitely has its upsides. One, you're home and the kids can play with their own toys outside. Two, it's easy to put everything on the grill, from burgers to pizzas, vegetables and even peaches … served with ice cream and honey of course! Three, it's social! Invite your friends (preferably those who have kids of their own) and everyone gets to relax and enjoy.

What are your favorite summer activities?

Natasha Schue is a mom of two boys, wife and a full-time working, young professional. You can read more about her family adventures on her blog schuelove.com or follow her on Instagram @schuelove. You can send questions or comments to: schuelove@gmail.com.

Ask Tessie: How should I behave at American Century Championship celebrity golf?

Dear Tessie,

I'm headed out to Edgewood this Sunday to watch the celebrity golf tournament for the first time ever! I've never watched golf in person (or on TV because let's be real … snooze-fest) so I could use some pointers on proper etiquette.


Will There Be Tea And Tiny Sandwiches?

Well, my good sir, I've never been one for convention and rules, so this may not be the best advice I've ever given, but it is sure to make a splash.

First off, the outfit. Screw polos and khakis. We all know your goal is to meet Justin Timberlake, Tony Romo or Steph Curry, so go ahead and rock that old NSYNC T-shirt you bought at the concert you told your buddies you definitely didn't go to.

That ought to get ol' JT's attention. If that doesn't work, you could always touch his face like the dude did last year, but there's a 99 percent chance that you'll get arrested, so stroke at your own risk. On the bright side, you could end up on TMZ!

Keep your Romo and Curry jerseys as a backup plan in case the concert tee isn't working for you. But while we're on that note, apparently you will have to carry those jerseys in a clear bag. Who, other than a 12-year-old girl from the '90s on the tail end of a killer shopping spree at Limited Too, has a CLEAR BAG? Cool idea, Edgewood, real cool.

Edgewood also says you can't ride Segways to which I respond: I do what I want! My suggestion is to wrap up your ankle, slap a handicap sign on that sucker and ride away. Given the nurturing nature JT displayed when that woman got nailed in the stomach by a rogue golf ball this week, he may very well take pity on you and serenade you with a song, too. If he's taking requests, I'd go with a throwback like "It's Gonna Be Me."

Now everyone knows that the real point of the celebrity golf tournament is to drink to the point that the game is actually entertaining to watch. For me, this usually takes a bottle of wine and a shot or two of whiskey. This should also give you the courage to start fun audience chants and do things that people love at other sporting events, like heckling the players and starting the wave.

Once you reach the 18th hole, you're likely going to be in need of a cool down, so dramatically limp over to the pond, yell "pool party!" and jump on in. I would be downright shocked if everyone there didn't follow you in. Just shocked.

At this point you are either going to be the newfound celebrity of this tournament — or you're going to be sitting in jail. Either way, I'm going to need your full name ASAP because I have a feeling it's going to be making an appearance in the Tribune very soon.

You can thank me later!

Tahoe Tessie is a humorous take on the standard advice column. It is produced by the Tribune staff, and it is not meant to be taken literally. Have a question you want to ask Tessie? Send it to tahoetessie@tahoedailytribune.com.

Tahoe Prosperity Center column: Integrating the old with the new

For some people change is hard. They like things to stay the way they are. Or they might even want to go back to "the way things used to be." I totally get that, even though I embrace change.

I was recently in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania visiting my in-laws. We found old slides from the '70s. It was fun to look back at my husband's childhood pictures and talk about the memories of those days. In some ways the photos reminded us of what seemed like simpler days — long, lazy days camping by a river or family trips to the beach. (And no sunscreen!)

The nostalgia many of us have for "the way things were" is genuine. And there is a lot about those days that we could incorporate into our lives today (lawn games/knowing your neighbors/family dinners).

And yet, driving through my husband's old neighborhood where he grew up is not a pleasant drive down memory lane. Many of the homes are rundown, empty strip malls dot the landscape, schools and businesses are vacant, and the once thriving suburb is not a desirable place to live.

Yet, "big" Pittsburgh is thriving. Downtown, by the Steelers and Pirates stadiums, restaurants were packed before the Pirates game. The "River District" is a safe, fun and inviting place to hang out with the family.

In some of the old industrial "steel" sections of town, there are new robotics companies fueling redevelopment. Breweries are re-purposing old industrial buildings. And businesses are taking advantage of the bike trail from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. by catering to bikers and this emerging recreation industry. We joked during our visit that Pittsburgh is cool now.

What I wonder is: How can we preserve the part of the past that we all care about here in Lake Tahoe while moving forward with progressive change?

I'd bet that most of the readers of this column would agree there are a lot of rundown old motels in our town that could be better used (maybe for local workforce housing or innovative entrepreneurial businesses.)

I'd also bet that most of you would agree that we want to Keep Tahoe Blue, our forests green and our mountains white (in winter) — so protecting our environment is important, too. And how many of you would like a raise so you could afford a Tahoe median priced home? Can we balance economic prosperity and environmental protection and spur positive change?

The Tahoe Prosperity Center has some ideas to make this a reality.

First, we have to work together. I believe it is time to move on from the old rhetoric and misconceptions and especially the "that will never work" mentality. We can and should be thinking about how we can improve our towns for residents living here now. And we can and should be working together to improve it for future residents.

Second, let's build on the momentum that is already happening. There are some great examples of good projects that have environmental, community and economic benefits. People are investing in Lake Tahoe again. Let's capture this positive momentum and plan for a future we all want — walkable towns, thriving businesses and homes residents can afford to buy or rent.

Third, take notice of what is working in other areas and incorporate it into what works for Tahoe. We can learn a lot about how to improve our transit systems from other communities that have made it work. We can increase housing density in our town centers and still maintain our mountain culture. Let's take what works and add our Tahoe touch to it.

Lastly, let's work quickly. The Tahoe Prosperity Center won't be in this alone — there are many organizations, businesses and agencies that will be a part of this positive community change.

If we follow the steps above, I know we can make a difference quickly. The Tahoe Prosperity Center will be the catalyst to get s%#t done and we hope you are with us.

Heidi Hill Drum is the CEO of the Tahoe Prosperity Center, a Tahoe Basin-wide organization dedicated to uniting Tahoe's communities to strengthen regional prosperity. She has expertise in collaborative governance and is a 21-year resident. Heidi and her husband John are happily raising their two boys in Lake Tahoe.

Ask Tessie: How do you pronounce “gondola” correctly?

Dear Tessie,

I've lived in Tahoe for a few years, and since I've been here I've heard people pronounce "gondola" in two very different ways. I've always said "gone-duh-la," but more and more I hear "gone-DOE-la." Which is right?


I Don't Want To Sound Like An Idiot

Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit. I always thought the people that said "gone-DOE-la" had just lived in the Deep South for at least half of their life, but by god they're saying it correctly!

I consulted the Goog, which then took me to the Tube where I then watched a video that explained a "gone-duh-la" is that boat that dudes in striped shirts push tourists around in in Venice. A "gone-DOE-la" is that overpriced ski lift that carries tourists up to Heavenly.

I pride myself on never being wrong, so this is a real blow for me. I feel like one of those imbeciles that walks around saying "Nuv-ahhhhh-duh" instead of "Ne-va-duh." IDIOTS. Excuse me while I go drown my sorrows at Cabo Wabo.

Dear Tessie,

I saw on the Tribune website that there is a lakefront home on the North Shore that just hit the market for $75 million. This house has eight bedrooms sitting empty while Lake Tahoe locals are struggling to find housing or are living in run-down apartments. How is that fair?


But Seriously, Can I Live There?

To answer this question, I offer up this piece of wisdom oft said to me by my mother starting when I was just a wee lass: "Guess what? Life isn't fair!"

Is it fair that some people have three houses when others are struggling to find one? No, but you can bet your sweet heinie that those people with three houses worked hard to earn the money to buy them (or at least someone in their family did).

But don't fret; I've got an idea to get you inside this baller house and many more around Lake Tahoe.

You and I are going to co-host a Lake Tahoe version of "MTV Cribs." Here's the plan: We are going to convince all the fancy homeowners around the lake to allow us to come spend a week — actually, let's make it two — filming our show.

"Your friends will be so impressed," I'll say to them. "Think of what a great story this will be to tell at your next dinner party," you'll add. They can't refuse.

After living it up for one week and six days while the owners of the house are at their other estate in Palm Springs, we will film the show with us in flat brimmed hats and multiple gold chains, walking around the houses showing off the 16 bathrooms, two elevators, eight-car garage, and gigantic fridge that is filled with 200 bottles of Perrier.

"This single throw blanket was woven by blind nuns using hair from woolly mammoths," I'll shout. "CAN YOU DIG IT?"

Meanwhile the 10 flat screens in the house will all be playing our favorite rap music videos on loop as we blow people's minds with the gigantic fireplaces and 2,000-bottle wine cellar.

Next thing you know, our show goes viral, and we're one step closer to purchasing our own mansion. It's the American Dream.