- Associated Press - Monday, December 5, 2016

OXON HILL, Md. (AP) - Given his dining choices in the minor leagues a decade ago, Freddie Freeman is thrilled with big league chow.

While daily meal money on the road for major league baseball players is being cut from $100.50 to $30 under the sport’s new collective bargaining agreement, teams are assuming the cost of providing clubhouse food spreads for home games and road trips.

“Peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches is what we lived on. In the minor leagues, you find a Waffle House and go get that,” the Atlanta Braves star first baseman said Monday. “It’s come a long way, What you do in the minor leagues makes you appreciate what you have in the big leagues, and what we have in the big leagues is so amazing.”

The change is estimated to save players about $6,000 annually, since the cost of food at home games will be not coming from their own money.

Players have long paid “clubhouse dues” on to cover the cost of spreads, which averaged $70 per day per player this year. Many pay additional tips to clubhouse managers, money redistributed to all the clubhouse attendants.

“I think the driving source was that there was an unevenness in visitor’s clubhouses in terms of the quality of food that was provided,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said, “and players have become progressively more focused on what they’re eating and drinking.”

The change eliminates a problem that occurred last season in Seattle. Fox reported Chicago White Sox players refused to pay last July 20, protesting a Mariners’ policy that directed 60 percent of clubhouse dues go to a team-managed account to pay for food and the salaries of clubhouse assistants.

“I think it just simplifies everything, just makes that whole process easier for us,” said Boston pitcher Rick Porcello, the AL Cy Young Award winner. “You’re traveling and you’re going from clubhouse to clubhouse, it can be a lot to think about at times after a game when you’re trying to get out of there on getaway day.”

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