The Orioles and the 29 other Major League Baseball teams will contribute $1 million each in support of ballpark employees who will be unable to work during the delayed start of the league’s season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the $30 million contribution from the league Tuesday, a day after MLB announced its season won’t begin until at least mid-May in following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to restrict crowds of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks.
“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 in the start of the Major League Baseball season," 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 individual clubs will be announcing more details surrounding this support effort in their local communities. 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. I am proud that our clubs came together so quickly and uniformly to support these individuals who provide so much to the game we love.”
MLB and the MLB Players Association also announced a combined $1 million commitment — split evenly between Feeding America and Meals on Wheels America — to assist those who have difficulty accessing food.
The Orioles have yet to formally announce their contribution. The club compensated ballpark workers for lost wages from the 2015 protests in Baltimore, which led to three games scheduled to be at Camden Yards instead played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, and another notably played without fans inside the stadium.
In 2015, Delaware North, which operates food, beverage and retail services at Camden Yards, said it compensated “nearly 1,000 gameday associates" for those four games.
The Orioles were set to begin the 2020 campaign March 26 at home against the New York Yankees as part of a three-game series before hosting the Boston Red Sox for three games.
The club had 80 scheduled games at Camden Yards, rather than the standard 81, because they are scheduled to host the Red Sox in the Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in August.
The Orioles also announced Tuesday that they will close their offices through March 29 and stressed the importance of practicing social distancing and following the advice of medical experts.
“This is bigger than baseball, and until we can return to the field, we can all do our part to help ‘flatten the curve’ and and slow the spread of the virus to allow our nation’s healthcare system to serve our most vulnerable neighbors."