MLB Commits $30 Million to Stadium Employees
Updated: Oct 2
Major League Baseball initially decided to push Opening Day back at least two weeks in light of the Corona Virus pandemic. Following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which recommended avoiding large gatherings over 50 people for the next eight weeks, MLB determined that their season would not start until May 9 at the earliest. As players and owners scrambled to figure out what this meant for their season, another group central to the baseball community found out that they would not be able to work for nearly two months.
Ballpark workers are seasonal employees who don’t earn a salary and therefore depend on wages earned from gameday. With the season pushed back, these employees lost a significant amount of their expected income for the next couple of months. With so much uncertainty, there is a real possibility that this lack of work could continue for even longer if the pandemic worsens causing these employees to lose even more income. MLB has no idea what could happen to their season and these workers are stuck in the middle with no way to earn money to live on. Given the state of the economy and with everything shutting down, there are few opportunities to find other work and so these people would be left without a paycheck for weeks and possibly months.
In light of these concerns MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced that each team was committed to putting $1 million into a fund to support ballpark workers. Manfred said this decision was motivated by “a desire to help some of the most valuable members of the baseball community.” This decision followed announcements by several individuals and teams in the NBA who announced that they would be supporting stadium workers. MLB’s unified response is more complete due to the fact that every team has already committed themselves to this fund. It’s important for these organizations to be supporting the workers that support their industry because those laborers don’t have anywhere else to turn.
The baseball season was just about to get started, so these workers were depending on their wages from games for the foreseeable future. Despite uncertainty about players’ salaries, ticket sales, and revenue from sports networks for the rest of the season, MLB has already decided to support these people who could easily be forgotten because they are not the faces of the industry. Their attention to this demonstrates that they are aware of the state of the world and they are committed to supporting their community during this global crisis. Although MLB doesn’t know what this season could mean financially, at present it is important to do what they can for workers who will need to pay their rent and purchase food in the coming months.
This is a great example of the sports world coming together despite all of the panic. It sets an example for everyone else to follow suit. Individual players, like Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros, are also committing themselves to disaster relief, such as donating food to those in need. It is important for people like athletes to take the lead right now because they are role models in our society. As everyone struggles to find relief, this show of unity illustrates the importance of sticking together and supporting those most in need such as laborers who are out of work due to venue closures and events being cancelled.