With the remainder of spring training canceled and MLB Opening Day postponed, ballpark employees without any games to work have been left in a precarious place. Minor league ballplayers are also in a similar situation as they are not paid during spring training and receive only per diem or stipends during that time.
However, MLB teams and individual teams have started to announce plans to help ballpark employees and minor leaguers while the season is delayed.
On Tuesday, Major League Baseball teams announced they would each individually pledge $1 million to help out-of-work ballpark employees, according to a release from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. What this assistance will look like depends on how each team works with state and local laws.
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
After Opening Day had been postponed from March 26 to April 9, MLB announced Monday it would delay the start of the season for at least 8 weeks in accordance with new Center for Disease Control guidance, putting a potential start date somewhere in mid-May.
Once the NBA became the first league to halt its season, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban quickly announced the team would develop a plan to pay stadium workers. The Blazers and the Cavaliers were among teams to also say they would come up with plans to pay stadium workers. Some NBA players, including Zion Williamson and Giannis Antetokounmpo, announced they would donate money to help these employees.
On March 19, MLB announced that all minor leaguers will receive a lump sum payment for allowances they would have collected through April 8. Each eligible player will receive $400 per week, according to Baseball America.
On March 31, MLB announced minor leaguer players will receive $400 each week through at least May 31 unless the season starts before then. Minor leaguers will also receive medical benefits during this period.
The Tampa Bay Rays earlier announced they will pay the $400 weekly per diem to these players through early April, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin. The Dodgers will also honor paying minor league stipends through the end of spring training, according to the LA Times. The Marlins, the Padres, and the Red Sox have also committed to paying their minor leaguers through part or the remainder of spring training, according to Baseball America.
Outside of MLB, efforts by The Athletic’s Emily C. Waldon and Adopt a MiLB player are attempting to help these players in need, including the Yankees minor leaguers who have been quarantined. Organizations like Our Baseball Life and More Than Baseball are continuing their help to minor leaguers during this time, as The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler reports.
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright and his wife Jenny have donated $250,000 to assist Cardinals minor leaguers during the pandemic, according to Waldon. Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is donating $1,000 to each of the 190 minor leaguers in Texas’ farm system, according to the Dallas Morning New’s Evan Grant.
Because minor leaguers are under contract with their teams they are unable to collect unemployment.
Players helping in the community
Major leaguers are also helping in their team communities. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has pledged $125,000 to three organizations in Atlanta.
Atlanta Braves star Freddie Freeman has pledged to donate $50,000 to the Atlanta Food Bank, $50,000 to Giving Kitchen -- which provides emergency assistance to food-service workers -- and $25,000 to the Salvation Army, all to assist in the fallout from the coronavirus crisis.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 18, 2020
Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward is splitting $200,000 to two organizations in Chicago.
More good deeds from MLB players.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 18, 2020
Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward plans to donate $200,000 to coronavirus relief in Chicago: $100,000 to MASK, which is collecting supplies and meals for families affected by the virus, and $100,000 to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Astros infielder Alex Bregman has been helping Houston Food Bank put together meals for students and their families.
With our help, @HoustonFoodBank is assembling quarantine food kits so our students and their families don’t need to worry about their next 28 meals. Please join me in helping our community, every little bit counts! https://t.co/fr7eCRGvNP https://t.co/XpOxyeu9XU— Alex Bregman (@ABREG_1) March 14, 2020