RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT)- Major League Baseball is extending its financial support to minor league players through May while suspending their contracts because of the coronavirus pandemic.
MLB announced March 19 that it was giving minor leaguers $400 weekly allowances through April 8, the day before the minor league season was scheduled to start. The commissioner's office said Tuesday that minor leaguers will continue to receive those allowances and health benefits through May 31 or the minor league opening day, whichever comes first.
Major and minor league seasons are on hold due to the coronavirus. Weekly minimum salaries on full-season minor league teams range from $290 at Class A to $502 at Triple-A over the five-month season, meaning many players are making more during this hiatus than they do during the season.
The allowances are meant to help players cover costs for housing, food and training. Most players were instructed to leave their spring training complexes just over two weeks ago, sending them scrambling to make ends meet because they hadn't received a paycheck from teams since the end of the 2019 season.
This will benefit past and future Flying Squirrels as well. While minor leaguers await their official assignments for 2020, they'll be able to breathe a little easier with the latest announcement of help.
"No matter you slice it, all of this helps the players in some way," said Squirrels' COO Todd "Parney" Parnell on Tuesday. "In this time of unknown and a lot of negativity, this is a little sliver of positivity that's going into our players and I'm glad for them."
The Flying Squirrels have also remained an active part of the community during the pandemic. Parney and his staff have been making calls to fans and supporters, Nutzy and Nutasha have been visiting Richmond Public School students at meal distribution, and the team has been active on social media.
“It’s amazing to me how much a text can mean to people,” said Parney. “It’s amazing to me how much a hand-written note can mean to people, it’s amazing to me how just telling somebody that you care can mean to people right now, so we’re focusing on that.”
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