The devil weed is being dropped from the list of banned substances for minor league players. (‘Boo’ is one of those old code words for marijuana.) And Bernie Sanders is protesting a plan by Major League Baseball —the owners’ consortium— to eliminate 25 percent of minor league teams. “Closing down Minor League teams like the Vermont Lake Monsters would be a disaster for baseball fans, workers, and communities across the country,” Sanders tweeted. “We must protect these teams from corporate greed.” As they used to say in Brooklyn —from whence Walter O’Malley moved the Dodgers to LA long before gentrification— “Bernie knows from corporate greed.”

Back then,  news about baseball during the off-season was said to emanate from “the hot stove league.” Another phrase you never hear anymore.

This is from Scott Polacek,, 12/9/19

… On Monday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Major League Baseball is removing it from the list as part of a negotiation with the players’ union regarding a new agreement on opioids. Rosenthal noted major league players were not subject to testing for marijuana, so this provides more consistency between the two levels.

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times added more context to the discussion in October, noting deputy commissioner Dan Halem said the league would “absolutely” like to test for opioids during the 2020 season.

Discussions about loosening marijuana restrictions wouldn’t necessarily be seen as a “trade-off” for such tests but would “reflect in part the national trend toward legalization.”

According to Shaikin, opioids and marijuana were both classified as “drugs of abuse” under baseball’s policy, but major leaguers were only consistently tested for performance-enhancing drugs. However, minor leaguers are tested for “drugs of abuse” and face a suspension on a second positive test.

Shaikin’s report noted 13 minor leaguers were suspended for marijuana in 2019, while 80 percent of positive “drugs of abuse” tests were for the drug.

Negotiations involving minor league players have made headlines this offseason, as MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred met with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to discuss a proposal that could eliminate 42 minor league teams.

Sanders has publicly criticized the proposal, saying, “This has nothing to do with what’s good for baseball and everything to do with greed. It would destroy thousands of jobs and devastate local economies.”

In a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, Sanders wrote: “While Minor League Baseball players make as little as $1,160 a month (less than the $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage) and are denied overtime pay, the 20 wealthiest Major League Baseball owners have a combined net worth of more than $50 billion.”