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The London Series is officially canceled

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This is not surprising but, as of today, it is now official: The London Series scheduled for June 13-14 between the Cubs and Cardinals has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s not even clear that regular season games will be played in the United States as early as mid-June and, even if we are back and running then, we’ll likely be a on a compressed schedule that would make two teams taking several days out of their normal routine unworkable. And all of that is before one even begins to consider that the timeline for the pandemic may be very different in the UK than it is in the Untied States and that, regardless of all of that, it’ll probably be best for international travel to remain as limited as possible for everyone well into the latter part of this year.

No word yet on what may happen in 2021, but Major League Baseball was quite pleased with how last year’s series in London between the Yankees and Red Sox went down, so I suspect they’ll try to resume things in London next season.

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.