Indians, Rangers join White Sox on list of teams to protest Mariners’ clubhouse dues
White Sox players are not the only ones to protest a new Mariners policy regarding visiting clubhouse dues.
The Indians and Rangers both tried to circumvent the policy in June by tipping visiting clubhouse manager Jeff Bopp but not paying clubhouse dues, according to major-league sources.
The White Sox refused to pay Bopp at all after their visit to Seattle July 18-20, objecting to the Mariners’ practice of redirecting 60 percent of the dues into an account managed by the team, sources said.
White Sox right fielder Adam Eaton, the team’s player rep, told reporters Monday that the players set aside an envelope full of checks to give to Bopp once the situation is resolved.
The Mariners do not collect a percentage of tips, only dues. The Indians’ players who paid Bopp in cash specified to him that the money was a tip, and those who wrote checks scrawled the word, "tips," on the memo line, sources said. Many of the Rangers followed the same procedures.
The maneuver did not work, however. The Mariners, later found out about the plan and collected their percentage, sources said.
We don’t want the front office taking money from the guy that’s down there working until 1 o’clock in the morning cleaning our uniforms and cleaning our spikes.
— Adam Eaton
Players typically pay $50 a day in dues when on the road, and tip above that. Most teams allow the visiting clubhouse manager to handle dues as well as the individual tips. The clubhouse manager uses the money to purchase food and other items for the players and redistributes a percentage of the tips to his assistants.
Mariners officials say the money from their account is used for the same purposes but simply reallocated in a different way, with the club netting no profit from the arrangement.
"It does not cover our costs," Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "We are absorbing costs above and beyond."
Bopp receives 40 percent of the dues plus all of the tips, in addition to his salary from the club, Dipoto said. The other 60 percent of the dues helps pay for food and the salaries of clubhouse assistants.
The Mariners implemented the policy in part because it wanted to manage the hours of under-age employees and their overtime, Dipoto said.
Players from the protesting teams, however, object to Mariners management unilaterally entering a financial relationship that historically has existed only between players and "clubbies."
The players’ union, seeking uniformity in clubhouse protocols — as well as safeguards against management intrusion into the clubhouse space — has raised the issues in collective bargaining, sources said.
Eaton, who initially declined comment on the matter to FOX Sports for a story that was published Sunday, explained his team’s thinking to reporters the following day.
"More or less, we want to give the money to the people that are doing the work in the clubhouse," Eaton said. "We don’t want the front office taking money from the guy that’s down there working until 1 o’clock in the morning cleaning our uniforms and cleaning our spikes.
"We treat those guys with the utmost respect. They work their butts off. When we made a decision as a team not to pay, it was because we want that ‘clubby’ to get the money he deserves. The front office, they’re not down there during the day, they’re not doing any work and they’re receiving the funds.
"We don’t see that as a productive practice."