Sports professionals have rallied around the hourly employees that help them put on games.
Major League Baseball announced its plan Tuesday, tweeting that each of the 30 teams is committing $1 million to “assist the ballpark employees affected by the delayed start to our season.”
“I am so proud that our clubs came together so quickly and uniformly to support these individuals who provide so much to the game we love,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said.
MLB’s 162-game season was scheduled to start April 9, but has been delayed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Over the past 48 hours, I have been approached by representatives of all 30 clubs to help assist the thousands of ballpark employees affected by the delay in the start of the Major League Baseball season,” Manfred said Tuesday, according to USA Today. “The individual clubs will be announcing more details surrounding this support effort in their local communities.”
Spring training was canceled last week, while Manfred told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that there is no plans to announce a new start date.
“We’re not going to announce an alternate opening day at this point,” Manfred said Monday. “We’re going to have to see how things develop. I think the commitment of the clubs is to play as many baseball games in 2020 as we can, consistent with the safety of our players and our fans.”
Baseball officials are also scrambling to assist minor leaguers, who are only paid during the regular season. The MLB is only allowing each team’s 40-man roster to remain at team facilities. Therefore, many minor leaguers are at home and can’t receive unemployment benefits because they are under contract.
A number of teams have committed to continuing to paying minor leaguers during the work stoppage. According to Baseball America, the Tampa Bay Rays have said they’d continue to pay minor leaguers the $400 per week per diem they receive during camp. The Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, Padres and Red Sox have also committed to paying minor leaguers through at least a specified date.
"This is a crisis situation in our country," Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said, according to the Post-Dispatch. "Both the teams and the commissioner’s office and the players understand we are all in this together. We've got to work out a solution, and it’s not easy. We are all running clubs and business that have no revenue. Obviously there’s a lot of give and take. His (Manfred’s) communication with Tony Clark, his group and our group, has been very cordial. Try to find a solution that meets everyone’s needs.”