The MLB season is suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it goes without saying that there are a lot of different negative consequences. One such consequence is a loss of work for stadium employees, who are usually part-time seasonal employees.
With no baseball games being played, those employees are out of work.
MLB is attempting to address that issue. On Tuesday, the league agreed that each team would pledge $1 million to ballpark employees. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
NEWS: Each of the 30 Major League Baseball teams will commit $1 million to ballpark employees who would not have been paid due to the coronavirus crisis causing the postponement of the baseball season until at least mid-May. Story filed to ESPN and coming soon.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 17, 2020
This is a necessary first step, though it’s unclear how far this will actually go.
We don’t know how many workers ballparks employ. However, when the Golden State Warriors - who are losing a maximum of eight home games due to the NBA’s season suspension - pledged to donate money to their stadium workers, they also opted for $1 million, and noted that more than 1,000 people staffed Chase Center on gamedays.
If you assume that baseball stadiums have a similar number of staffers — from ticket-takers, to vendors, to game-day operators, to janitors — it’s easy to see how quickly that $1 million mark runs out.
For what it’s worth, eight games at Oracle Park takes the San Francisco Giants through April 21. The season will almost surely be delayed well beyond that mark, as the CDC has already recommended no gatherings of 50 or more people until at least mid-May.
It’s also unclear how MLB will take care of their already underpaid minor league players, who will be without paychecks (and have been without them for quite some time). Only a few teams have committed to paying their minor leaguers, though Passan seems to suggest that a league-wide solution is on the table.
The step by MLB and its 30 teams to pledge $30 million total to ballpark employees in a time of great need is noble and important. Bravo to everyone for doing the right thing.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 17, 2020
Next up: Figure out how to support minor leaguers, many of whom haven't cashed a paycheck in months.
MLB appears to be taking the right first steps, but they need to be just that: the first steps.
If the league does not take further action, hopefully the Giants — one of the most profitable teams in the sport, with billionaire owners — step up to the plate with regards to their part-time employees and minor league players.