Election 2020 Bernie Sanders

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., hits in the batting cage during a meeting with minor league baseball players and officials at FunCity Turf, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Burlington, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Allow me to stick to sports.

In addressing issues of national poverty, sports sections of every newsroom will be directly impacted by policies campaigned by Bernie Sanders.

Not only because he is the only senator to address Major League Baseball, which owes much of its profitability to an act of congress, to reconsider contracting 42 minor league teams — but because suggesting the United States government provide its citizens access to healthcare and higher education would dramatically reshape the stories that appear in the sports section.

For student-athletes and their guardians, Medicare for All will make the most obvious difference.

Along with countless stories of overcoming injury, I have received multiple pitches about costly medical services relating to athletic endeavors. With one reader using the phrase “price gouging,” it is clear insurance for services like physical rehabilitation, surgeries and testing for concussions can take a significant financial toll on families.

Fortunately, each reader who approached me said they were insured, which helped pay for most of the bill. But each wondered to me the fate of a family that was not of the same means.

College for All will also provide student-athletes a real chance to play for the love of the game.

From the hopeful wind sprints on display at the NFL Combine, to the newly-drafted prospects at MLB Spring Training to a billion-dollar men’s basketball tournament hosted by the NCAA, mainstream sports in the United States are inextricably tied to education.

Some high school seniors and junior college sophomores will celebrate a commitment to play sports collegiately with a signing day ceremony. These are newsworthy events not just because of their notable past achievements or the status granted by a university, but because of the public dollars allotted to help alleviate the cost of college tuition.

These stories of hard work and perseverance are often accented by the fact that they may not have attended college at all without financial aid earned via athletic prowess.

While inspirational individually, I do not believe this reflects a healthy society.

In fact, I believe this inequality helps explain the difference between who we see on the hardwood for March Madness, on the gridiron in the College Football Championship and who we see as the general population of the United States.

It also explains why the average first-round MLB signing bonus is worth as many as nine international signings from less wealthy countries like the Dominican Republic, Colombia or Venezuela.

Which brings us to Sanders and Minor League Baseball. His message to the MLB, “stop these bogus threats, withdraw your proposal … and pay minor leaguers a living wage,” illustrates an understanding that labor issues in sports can influence policy at a workplace near you.

Imagine your child playing college ball because they love it, not because it was their only ticket onto campus. Imagine your child running without fear that a blown knee or a concussion would handicap future finances. Imagine being represented by someone who sees every player, even those in the minor leagues, as someone who deserves dignity, respect and a wage to reflect it.

Imagine Bernie Sanders on the ticket, and help make it happen on Tuesday.

Alex Agueros can be reached at sports@sedaliademocat.com or on Twitter @abagueros2.

 

Sports Editor

Alex Agueros is the sports editor for the Sedalia Democrat, covering games and sports features in Sedalia and Pettis County and surrounding areas. He can be reached at 660-530-0142 or on Twitter @abagueros2.

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