CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates are trimming payroll while they await word on the fate of the Major League Baseball season.
The Cubs are instituting pay cuts because of the coronavirus pandemic, but there will be no furloughs through the end of June. The Pirates announced Thursday they are instituting furloughs for several employees in business operations beginning June 1.
Chicago's cuts were based on compensation, a person with direct knowledge of the situation said. Theo Epstein, the president of baseball operations, and Crane Kenney, the president of business operations, took the highest reductions.
The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said 80% of associates are taking a pay cut of 20% or less.
The MLB season has been on hold since spring training was suspended March 12 because of the pandemic. The commissioner's office and the players' union are talking about a deal to resume, and teams could take more drastic employment measures with administrative staff if the negotiations are unsuccessful.
The St. Louis Cardinals, Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox have informed their employees there won't be any pays cuts or furloughs through the end of June. Some front office workers with the White Sox could have their hours reduced because work demands have changed.
Pirates president Travis Williams said the team also will be reducing pay for many of its remaining employees in business and baseball operations beginning next month.
Union responds to virus protocols
The players' association gave management a wide-ranging response to a 67-page proposed set of protocols for a season to be played during the coronavirus pandemic.
Management had presented the union and the 30 teams the proposed draft last Friday.
The union said Thursday it addressed: protections for high-risk players, access to pre- and postgame therapies, testing frequency, protocols for positive tests, in-stadium medical personnel and sanitization procedures.
Players viewed many of the concepts in the original draft as over the top, such as arriving in uniform at the ballparks, a prohibition on them leaving without team permission and a ban on guests other than immediate family members. Players also objected to a ban on the use of showers and hydrotherapy.
Little League offers practice guidelines
Little League released a series of “best practices” guidelines this week that highlight how to create a safe playing environment whenever state and local authorities give youth sports in a given area the all clear to restart. Little League canceled the 2020 Little League World Series and other championships because of the pandemic but remains hopeful a regular season may still be possible.
The recommendations include eliminating all non-essential contact and banning the postgame handshake line in favor of lining up along the respective baselines and tipping caps to opponents.
All players should wear masks while in the dugout and coaches and volunteers should wear masks and protective medical gloves at all times, the guidelines said. Players should also be separated by six feet while in the dugout or in the stands and the shared use of equipment is prohibited when possible. Umpires would move from behind home plate to behind the pitcher's mound and game balls would be switched out every two innings.
Concession sales would also be prohibited. So would sunflower seeds and spitting. The recommendations also include limiting the amount of family members allowed into a facility to watch games.