The A's announced Tuesday that they will stop paying a weekly stipend to minor league players beginning in June.
With the minor league season on hold due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the A's had been paying all players on minor league contracts $400 a week.
A's owner John Fisher confirmed the news in a lengthy email to staff members and fans.
"I am very saddened to let you know that we have implemented a significant temporary furlough of staff positions, and reduced compensation for staff members who are not furloughed," Fisher wrote. "We are also suspending compensation for the A's minor league players."
Fisher explained why the A's decided to make this move.
"I know that many of you will wonder why the A's are cutting costs now," Fisher wrote. "Nobody knows how this pandemic will evolve over the long term. What is clear is that our revenues will be dramatically reduced this year. None of this diminishes the pain of today's actions, but it is an honest acknowledgement of the circumstances of the moment."
The Score's Robert Murray obtained a copy of the email A's general manager David Forst sent to minor leaguers.
"Recognizing the hardship that not receiving a paycheck would have on you and your families, the Oakland Athletics agreed to continue to pay all of its players on the Minor League [Uniform Player Contracts] the sum of $400 per week through May 31," Forst wrote. "In addition, as Commissioner [Rob] Manfred said, all players will continue to receive medical and health benefits pursuant to the terms of their Minor League health insurance at least until the beginning of a partial 2020 regular season (and if no season is played, through the original 2020 regular season calendar). Unfortunately, considering all of the circumstances affecting the organization at this time, we have decided not to continue your $400 weekly stipend beyond May 31. This was a difficult decision and it's one that comes at a time when a number of full-time employees are also finding themselves either furloughed or facing a reduction in salary for the remainder of the season. For all of this, I am sorry."
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The A's are the first organization to halt payments to minor league players.
Memorial Day signifies the unofficial start to summer in the United States.
It's also a big benchmark on the sports calendar.
The 2020 MLB season should have been in full swing, ready to turn the page on its second month. Monday would have been filled with pageantry at the ballparks around the country as teams honored our military servicepeople and veterans.
The NBA and NHL playoffs, likely without all three Northern California teams, should have been in the conference finals stage.
Instead, this was a very different Memorial Day due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
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That didn't stop Bay Area athletes and teams from celebrating the holiday on social media:
We hope everyone had a safe and healthy Memorial Day.
Editor's note: Like you, Bay Area athletes and NBC Sports Bay Area insiders, reporters and analysts are feeling the sports void during the coronavirus stoppage. They'll share their thoughts twice a week in "What I Miss About Sports." Next up in the series: A's play-by-play broadcast Glen Kuiper.
The 2020 Major League Baseball season was scheduled to open March 26, getting underway with our Oakland A’s hosting the Minnesota Twins.
It could still be the year the A’s make a deep playoff run, maybe even bringing home to Oakland a fifth World Series Trophy. And while that might very well happen, we will have to wait on these hopes as together we all fight a bigger opponent.
Exercising our patience is difficult as the anticipation for a brand new season was upon us. But with so much uncertainty, one thing is certain: I already miss baseball. I know we all do.
Baseball has been central to my life since I was very young, and so this unexpected turn leaves me missing the many big and little things that come with the baseball season in the Kuiper home, and life.
-Waking up and looking at every box score from the previous night’s games.
-My wife, Amanda, asking me how the day/evening’s game went.
-My kids, Jack and Annie, asking me over breakfast if the A’s won.
-Studying the starting pitching for the next game.
-Pulling into parking lot at the Coliseum and feeling the excitement in air, and in my heart for the upcoming game.
-Sitting in the dugout, talking baseball with players, coaches, and staff.
-Quietly sitting in my chair in our broadcast booth filling out my lineup card.
-Pregame dinner with my colleagues (who are my great friends) in the press lounge.
-Pregame laughs, and there are a lot of them, in the booth before we go on the air.
-The sense of pride I have when I call the A’s games for the awesome Oakland fans, and making sure I give them the very best I have so that they might enjoy the game as much as I do.
-Our fans. The wacky, crazy, devoted, diehard Oakland fans.
-Reminding fans that “when its time for a change, think Speedy Oil Change and Tune Up."
-Calling out the “Chapman Dive” and the “Olson Scoop” and the "Laureano Throw” and, of course, “That baby is gone!!”
-Hearing Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration” after an A’s win.
-Ray Fosse’s mustache.
-Dallas Braden’s beard.
-Driving home after the game knowing I get to do it all over again the next day.
-The full days of being immersed in baseball.
We will be back together soon, better than ever, but until then, be safe, be kind to each other, and I will see you at the Coliseum, A’s fans!
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