Nationals, MLB teams pledge $30 million to support ballpark employees

NEW YORK (AP) — The Washington Nationals and other Major League Baseball teams have pledged $30 million for ballpark workers who will lose income because of the delay to the season caused by the new coronavirus.

Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement Tuesday, a day after pushing back opening day to mid-May at the earliest.

“Over the past 48 hours, I have been approached by representatives of all 30 clubs to help assist the thousands of ballpark employees affected by the delay,” Manfred said in a statement. “Motivated by desire to help some of the most valuable members of the baseball community, each club has committed $1 million.”

The Washington Nationals said that dedicated staff play an important role in fostering a sense of community among fans.

The Nationals said that the decision to postpone the season was the correct one, and they wanted to “lessen the worry associated with the season’s delay.”

Many ballpark employees are paid by the game and will not have that income during the delay. If the schedule is cut, their income likely would be reduced.

“Our game-day staff are the familiar faces that our fans know and love,” Tampa Bay Rays president Brian Auld said. “They are part of the fabric of the ballpark experience at Tropicana Field, and they are an essential part of our operations.”

Seattle announced the creation of a fund to support Mariners event staff.

“The individual clubs will be announcing more details surrounding this support effort in their local communities,” Manfred said. “The timing of these announcements will vary because of the need to coordinate with state and local laws as well as collective bargaining obligations in an effort to maximize the benefits realized by each group of employees.”

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