Major League Baseball terminated the Spring Training session and postponed the start of the 2020 baseball season indefinitely. One of the affected leagues was the Minor League. The situation brings uncertainty for its players and teams, who are now faced with new challenges going forward.
Players were either in Florida or Arizona, training with their teams when they got the news about the suspension and the need to go home.
The first thing for players to worry about is their paycheck. During training sessions, Minor League players earn a stipend. The actual salary is paid only during the season, limited to a five-month period.
The thing is, baseball salaries in Minor League are low as it is: with the minimum income being $290 per week, it is quite the opposite of the big-money contracts people think of.
Although the MLB has assured all Minor League players that they are going to get paid through April 7th, the potential delays and the lack of further support may bring a great deal of distress.
To keep their body (and mind) in shape, baseball players need to find alternative ways to compensate for the lack of Spring Training. The categories are pretty common. You either train in your basement, a small gym that is not yet closed, or a local training facility, like Ninth Inning Baseball.
One of the reported advantages is the players’ ability to meet and catch up with their old friends and high school buddies, as well as rivals from other teams. On the other hand, it isn’t obvious that the informal training of that kind will not hinder their performance when the season starts.
Because the Minor League is directly connected to the MLB, the hurdles of the pandemic have been managed without any irreversible consequences – so far, that is. For example, the MLB teams have donated over $30 million to the game-day employees in an effort to maintain the stability of the ecosystem.
However, the progression of COVID-19 is hard to predict. Minor League depends on the resilience of the MLB to fulfill its obligations and keep everyone’s head above the water. The more time the stadiums are empty, the more challenges the MLB has to deal with.
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