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Baseball insiders don’t think the game is back until at least May

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Yesterday Major League Baseball said that the start of the 2020 season would be delayed “at least two weeks.”

Emphasis on the “at least.”

This morning Jeff Passan reported that an Opening Day of April 9 — two weeks after the originally scheduled March 26 Opening Day — is highly unlikely. Passan, on TV this morning, after being asked if April 9 was likely:

“From everybody that I speak to, players, executives, officials, people at the union, the answer is no. And if there is baseball on April 9, something went really, really well across the country . . .  the expectation at this point among almost everybody, is that we’re not going to see baseball until May.”

Passan correctly noted, however, that things can turn on a dime. Indeed, at dinnertime on Wednesday everything was proceeding as normal. Before we went to bed an NBA player tested positive for coronavirus, the NBA canceled it season and all Hell was breaking loose. As Passan said, “the news cycle here and the decision-making matrix is moving so quickly that the idea that we know what’s going on two hours from now, let alone two weeks from now, just is not the case.”

 

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.