The COVID-19 pandemic has basically stopped the world for the time being. Businesses have shut down, gatherings have been limited, and many people have been left wondering when their next paycheck will come. That includes the thousands of stadium and gameday employees around Major League Baseball, which has suspended operations in the wake of the virus and pushed back the start of the regular season until at least mid-May. But yesterday, the teams around the league came together to make sure that their park workers will be taken care of for the time being:
The @MLB teams are donating a total of $30 million -- $1 million each -- to assist the ballpark employees affected by the delayed start to the 2020 season. https://t.co/PjlBCfTIxe pic.twitter.com/0AlOXOzH9M— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) March 17, 2020
As detailed in the communication from the league, each club — including our local Milwaukee Brewers — has donated $1 mil to create a $30 mil fund to assist ballpark employees. How that money will be paid out and what type of benefits individuals will be able to receive remains to be seen, but it appears that individual teams will have announcements as to what they will be doing in the near future.
One group of employees still facing uncertainty, however, are the players on minor league rosters. The league and Players’ Association announced a plan to support big leaguers who have departed camp, with an $1,100 stipend available to all players on a 40-man roster as of March 13th as well as non-roster invitees who spent at least one day on an MLB roster during the 2019 regular season. But that does not help most minor leaguers, who have not received a paycheck since the end of last season and are not paid a regular wage during Spring Training.
Minor leaguers were sent home after a March 15th recommendation from MLB and no longer have access to the regular meals or facilities that are provided during Spriing Training. They cannot file for unemployment because they are still technically under contract with their parent MLB teams and face difficulties finding short-term jobs to support themselves back home until whenever the season begins. The Padres, Rays, Mets, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Marlines have announced that for now, they will at least continue paying their minor league players the meal stipends that they would normally receive during Spring Training. But Baseball America is reporting that according to league and club officials, “Major League Baseball and individual clubs plan to address concerns over minor league pay in the near future.”