With Spring in full swing and April about to begin, it is still a sad reality that baseball isn’t starting anytime soon. With the coronavirus taking the world by storm many sports had to completely shut down. As a result, a somber tone has spread throughout baseball and not just the fans, but many players as well whose jobs and careers are at risk because of this pandemic.
Baseball America reflected this feeling throughout the sport when they created the cover of their soon to be April edition. BJ Schecter, editor, and publisher for the magazine felt they couldn’t just release their usual cover since it is such an unusual time for everyone and what baseball is going through.
“Sports has always been there to heal and help people move on from tragedy, and with large gatherings being an issue baseball has become a problem,” Schecter said. “This is something we’ve never seen before.”
Schecter and Baseball America decided to put a baseball sitting by itself in the middle of the cover. The cover is devoid of words however it speaks volumes with the lone powerful image that depicts the emptiness baseball fans are experiencing.
Typically baseball fans are filled with excitement and enthusiasm that comes with the start of Opening Day. Instead, the absence of the game is another reminder of the country’s current dilemma. Again, Baseball America’s newest issue captures this sentiment without turning a page. Annually, this issue release is highly anticipated because this includes the “Prospect Handbook.”
The “Prospect Handbook” edition is still the upcoming edition. It will highlight some of the players that are facing a hard time during this pandemic. With the game on hold, minor leaguers are facing the real problem that they might not be getting paid since they are not under the same contract commitments that major leaguers currently have.
No games mean no ticket, merchandise, or concession sales all affecting the revenue MiLB teams have coming in. This is a problem for owners and players who could risk losing their team or livelihood.
“MiLB teams don’t get paid through permanent television contracts so without ticket sales and concession revenue they might have to start laying off their players,” Schecter said.
Many major league teams have come out and said they will help pay players, but with so much up in the air around this pandemic it is unknown how long they can help provide an income for the athletes.
Adam Wainwright from the St. Louis Cardinals has publicly said he will donate $250,000 to help aid the pay for these minor leaguers.
Without fans in the stadiums, there is no income for the owners either. As a result, many of the MiLB teams are struggling to stay afloat. Minor league owners’ resources are spread thin and even if games were to resume without fans, it would be a struggle to provide all of the supplementary supplies and man-power to run a game. Schecter said that it will be a tremendous step to move forward, but we are still far from that.
The MLB has recently agreed with players and others to shorten many events including the season. The players have agreed that when fans can start attending and gatherings aren’t a problem they hope to begin play. The Amateur Draft has also reduced its format in order to safely accommodate production and staff. This has typically included 40 rounds, it will likely range from 5 to 10 instead.
Even with sports stopping, media and news are still ongoing with no shortage of things to write about. However, virtual traffic to media and web pages has reduced significantly resulting in difficult times for news outlets. This all has negative implications on radio, television, and magazines as well.
None the less, Baseball America is still doing there part to bring fans the news and thoughts of around the sport. This is highlighted and displayed in the still shot of a baseball sitting on an empty field, on an empty cover.