The Cubs grounds crew was short staffed because the Cubs were trying to avoid Obamacare

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This story keeps on giving.

Yesterday when the Cubs defended their grounds crew’s efforts during Tuesday night’s debacle against the Giants, the team noted that they had sent home many of the grounds crew workers earlier in the day. They made it sound as if it were standard operating procedure to do so. But the Chicago Sun-Times reports that there was a bit more to the team’s staffing decisions:

The staffing issues that hamstrung the grounds crew Tuesday during a mad dash with the tarp under a sudden rainstorm were created in part by a wide-ranging reorganization last winter of game-day personnel, job descriptions and work limits designed to keep the seasonal workers – including much of the grounds crew – under 130 hours per month, according to numerous sources with direct knowledge.

That’s the full-time worker definition under “Obamacare,” which requires employer-provided healthcare benefits for “big businesses” such as a major league team.

The Sun-Times article quotes anonymous officials from other teams which characterize the Cubs’ move in this regard as “cheap” and short-sighted.

Take this for what it’s worth, but the Cubs were deemed baseball’s most profitable team in 2013 and its owners are well-known partisan Republicans with a decidedly anti-Obama tilt. If there’s a team which is going to go out of its way to avoid having to pay Obamacare benefits, it’s not shocking that the Cubs are that team. Whether you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing likely depends on your political persuasion, of course.

Whether other teams have done this is unknown. Whether even twice as many grounds crew members could’ve fixed the problem in time on Tuesday is also unknown, as once a tarp is laden with water, it’s impossible for almost any number of people to move it. The head count — as opposed to the manner in which the tarp was rolled and unrolled — may have been irrelevant.

Of course, I am curious what those readers who have been on my case for pointing out that mistakes were made on Tuesday — readers who accused me of picking on poor blue collar workers in all of this — feel about a team cutting hours in order to not have to pay worker benefits.

Dave Martinez undergoes cardiac catheterization, return date unknown

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Nationals manager Dave Martinez left the team in the sixth inning of Sunday’s 7-0 win over the Braves to go to the hospital as a precautionary measure, Todd Dybas of NBC Sports Washington reported. Bench coach Chip Hale took over as manager for the remainder of the game.

Per Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post, GM Mike Rizzo said Martinez felt chest pains and underwent a cardiac catheterization today. The procedure assesses the heart’s condition. The team doesn’t know yet when Martinez will return.

With Hale continuing to fill in as manager, Tim Bogar will act as the bench coach in place of Hale and Joe Dillon will coach first base in place of Bogar.

The Nationals enter play Monday leading the first NL Wild Card by 1.5 games over the Cubs. The Nationals open up a six-game road trip with three games against the Cardinals starting Monday night. Stephen Strasburg will oppose Dakota Hudson.