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Phillies push back on criticism of organization’s hotel plan for minor leaguers | Policy

PHILADELPHIA — Phillies officials are pushing back on recent claims by disgruntled minor leaguers and an advocacy group that the organization has not done all it can to find non-hotel accommodations for players in their hometowns this season.

Although the Phillies have admitted that players live in hotels at all levels of the agricultural system, they argue that the arrangement is necessary due to the limited availability of apartment-style accommodation, particularly in greater Reading (Double- A), Lakewood, NJ (A high) and Clearwater, Florida (A low).

Three minor leaguers who spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer but requested anonymity to avoid repercussions said several players at multiple levels of the farm system conducted independent online searches that revealed apartment-style accommodations. Team officials countered that the amount of properties available does not satisfy more than 30 players in each of their four full-season affiliates, and the Phillies are unwilling to put some players in apartments and others in hotels.

“Absolutely, if you go online right now, you can probably find an apartment complex, whether it’s Reading or Wyomissing, that has one apartment or even two apartments,” the general manager of the company said over the phone. Reading, Scott Huntsicker. “The problem we’ve had, and will likely continue to have, is that there may be an apartment complex available at the moment, it doesn’t mean it was available in April. And if so, maybe it was only an apartment or two apartments in this place. We couldn’t even find four or five places that had three or four [units] each.”

Housing for minor leaguers has been an issue for years. In the fall, Major League Baseball asked all teams to find — and pay for — player accommodations at home, preferably in condos or apartments, but allowing the use of a hotel if other options are not available. While several teams have placed some of their affiliates in hotels, Advocates for Minor Leaguers listed the Phillies as the only one to use hotels at all levels of the farm system, one of the loopholes in MLB policy that he hopes to fill.

“The situation with the Philadelphia Phillies highlights the problems with the new minor league housing policy,” Advocates executive director Harry Marino said.

Phillies general manager Sam Fuld acknowledged the situation was “less than ideal” and said the team would continue to try to make improvements to its housing policy in the years to come.

But team officials also noted that Triple-A players stay in a “condo-style” extended-stay property in Allentown that includes individual bedrooms, living rooms and full kitchens. And although the Phillies’ housing plan prohibits overnight guests in the double-occupancy rooms that have been provided to most players in Reading, Jersey Shore and Clearwater, married and single-parent players at every minor league level receive single rooms. The Phillies estimated they had more than 30 players living in single-family units.

Additionally, while Double-A players had to check out of a team hotel after homestands and re-check in when returning from road trips, the Phillies noted that they would follow a rolling stay plan from June until the end of the day. end of the season. According to Hunsicker, the inconvenience at the start of the season was the result of a lack of uninterrupted availability at all hotels in the area. While one player said Reading players should take their belongings on the road, Hunsicker said storage is provided at FirstEnergy Stadium while the team is away.

Hunsicker described the process that led to players being accommodated in hotels in the greater Reading area. He said the organization contacted five or six apartment complexes, none of which could accommodate more than a few players for a six-month term. Three extended stay hotels only had availability for “a random week here or there”. The third option was ordinary hotels.

While several actors at multiple levels of the agricultural system have expressed frustration with the housing plan, Hunsicker said few complaints have been filed with him.

“I’m sure at some point there was a conversation [among players] about “Hey, I thought we were getting apartments,” Hunsicker said. “Yeah, well, we can’t find enough apartments, so we put you in these nice hotels. There’s no doubt that the conversation took place. But at no time did anyone push us away and say, “ Wait a minute, I don’t want to do that. It just didn’t happen here.

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