MLB’s owners want the players to shoulder their financial burden

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MLB’s teams need to pay their concession workers, too

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On March 17, Major League Baseball announced that each of its 30 teams would set aside $1 million to pay stadium workers during the postponement of the 2020 regular season. With the COVID-19 pandemic here for an indefinite stay, it’s unknown when America, never mind MLB, will be able to return to business as usual. That $1 million is a start toward making sure those sports workers impacted by the postponement of the season — who usually make less than $15 an hour — are taken care of.

The emphasis there, though, should be on how this is a start. That $1 million per team isn’t going to last very long, not with the sheer volume of employees needed to run a stadium on an administrative level and to keep its grounds in order. Outside of that, though, are also tens of thousands of concessions workers. While MLB and its teams pulled in positive press for the headline-worthy assistance package worth $30 million, it doesn’t even begin to cover all of the workers that make live baseball possible.

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Here’s how the Lakers qualified for a Payment Protection Program loan

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The program that is supposed to keep small businesses afloat during situations like that of the COVID-19 pandemic is the Payroll Protection Program, or PPP. It’s not exactly doing its job — at least in terms of what you might imagine that job to be — for a number of reasons, one of which merits mention here, thanks to the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers received a $4.6 million loan from the PPP. The Lakers, who are worth $4.4 billion according to Forbes, who generated nearly half-a-billion in revenue (and $178 million in operating income) just last season despite being a garbage fire, received nearly $5 million from a government program, and at the expense, hypothetically, of some Los Angeles-based business or another that isn’t worth 10 figures.

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MLB and the MLBPA negotiated 2020 salaries, or so we thought

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MLB will reportedly get their wish for a shrunken MiLB

Minor League Baseball, for over a year now, has been fighting Major League Baseball about shutting down or disaffiliating over one-quarter of its teams. It appears that fight is at an end, and if you were rooting for MiLB, you’re going to be disappointed.

Baseball America reported on Tuesday that, when talks resume on Wednesday between the two sides currently negotiating the Professional Baseball Agreement that governs their relationship, that MiLB will give in to MLB’s demands that they shrink to 120 affiliated clubs. It always felt like it was bound to happen, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but that sealed the fate of 40-plus clubs. Federal, state, and local governments were going to be the greatest ally of these potentially disaffiliated minor-league teams, and with all of their attention now focused on handling a pandemic, MLB has MiLB right where it wants them: in a corner, alone.

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Apparently, sports will save the economy

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Independent contractor athletes, and COVID-19

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MLB can leak all the return plans they want, but they won’t work

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On Tuesday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported on the discussions Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have been having about starting the currently postponed 2020 season. Nothing within is promising, even if it’s, as Passan put it, the “likeliest to work, and has been embraced by MLB and MLB Players Association leadership, who are buoyed by the possibility of baseball’s return and the backing of federal officials.”

“Likeliest to work” could mean anything, mathematically, and as evidenced by MLB themselves even admitting they don’t have a plan within a plan here to restart baseball amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s good to remember that “likeliest” probably means MLB could state that this improved plan has a non-zero chance of working, unlike some of their other plans, which are at zero percent.

Here’s the quick rundown, again via Passan:

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MLB, MLBPA both benefit from COVID-19 agreement, but MiLB will suffer

Difficult decisions were necessary for Major League Baseball and the Players Association to hammer out a deal while working with so many unknowns in what is now, officially, a postponed regular season. If Jeff Passan’s reporting on the situation is any indication, then both parties made sacrifices, but came away with key measures that will help them weather a shortened, or even potentially fully canceled, 2020 regular season.

However, the parties not at the table are the ones that fared the worst: Minor League Baseball now looks like they’re in a position for MLB to force the disaffiliation of dozens of clubs on to them by way of coronavirus fallout, while current and potential MiLB players would then face a lack of both jobs and even opportunities to be signed.

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COVID-19 sheds light on inequality, in sports and beyond

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