The Los Angeles Dodgers formally announced plans to provide financial relief to employees who are unable to work at Dodger Stadium because Major League Baseball remains shut down by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
They already had taken measures to pay Minor League players their Spring Training allowance and stipend, which only a handful of other MLB clubs had also committed to. MLB and the MLB Players Association remain in discussions over compensation for 40-man roster players.
At minimum, MLB doesn’t figure to resume games until the middle of May. Commissioner Rob Manfred pushed back Opening Day for a second time in accordance with a suggestion from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that mass gatherings of 50 or more people be cancelled for eight weeks (from March 15).
Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said navigating a fluid situation has led to daily calls centered around the outbreak, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“We literally have conference calls of one kind or another every day – whether it’s with staff or outside experts or MLB – on various topics in our business,” Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said. “There’s just a lot going on. It’s very complicated.”
MLB’s first response was to restrict clubhouse access to only players and essential team personnel. But days later all Spring Training games were cancelled and the start of the season was delayed.
In addition to MLB taking additional measures over the past week, some teams have faced challenges within their own organizations. Two New York Yankees Minor League players tested positive for coronavirus, and so too did an Arizona-based Cincinnati Reds employee.
What the MLB has managed to avoid is a situation that is currently sweeping across the NBA, where players on multiple teams have contracted it.
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