Aviators 2020 Season    
Courtesy: Ballpark Digest

The Aviators 2020 Season Might Not be Cleared for Takeoff



In these very confusing and hard times, it seems like you never know what is going to happen next. Fans of The Aviators might have to grab onto their lucky rabbit’s foot and clutch it tightly in hopes for a season this year.


News broke Wednesday that paints an ugly picture and could promise the arrival of some very dark days ahead for minor league baseball players. As reported by Jeff Passan, it was announced today that The Oakland A’s informed their Minor League Baseball players that they would not continue paying them past May 31st. 

During this unprecedented time with COVID-19, which has put a strain on companies trying to pay their employees, Minor League Baseball (MiLB) has been caught up in the same whirlwind of harsh realities like the rest of the world. With the suspension of Minor League Baseball, organizations have been paying their Minor League ballplayer percentages of normal salaries each week with health benefits. With news like this, unfortunately, it seems likely other organizations could follow in The Oakland Athletic’s footsteps. 


Gathered from an inside source, Robert Murray of The Score released an email via twitter from Oakland A’s General Manager David Forst, sent out to all the players Thursday:


To all A’s Minor League Players- 

Photo Credit: Oakland Athletics

I hope this email finds you and your family safe and healthy during this time. This period has been difficult for everyone in the game, and I want you to know your health and safety has been, and remains, the priority for all of us.

As you know, on March 31, 2020, the Commissioner decided to exercise his authority under Paragraph XXIII of the Minor League Uniform Player Contract (“UPC”) to suspend the operation of all Minor League UPCs indefinitely as a result of the COVID 19 national health emergency. As Commissioner Manfred said, our Club relies heavily on revenue from tickets/concessions, broadcasting/media, licensing and sponsorships to pay player salaries. In the absence of games, these revenue streams will be lost or substantially reduced.

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 Minor League UPCs the sum of $400 per week through May 31. In addition, as Commissioner 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 our 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.

Please note that the Baseball Assistance Team (“BAT”) is available to consider grant applications on an expedited basis for those players facing significant and immediate financial hardship. With respect to medical issues relating to the Coronavirus, you should contact Nate Brookes or Travis  —

This part gets cut out but it seems to be advising players who have contracted the coronavirus to seek medical help from doctors on standby available to the MLB and to help the community through the crisis.

The email continues:

We all hope that the suspension will be short in duration and we can all get back to making our contributions to this great game. As a reminder, your UPC remains in place during this period of its suspension, and you are not permitted to perform services for any other club. The compensation provisions of your UPC will be reinstated under the terms of your contract upon the Commissioner’s decision to end the suspension. Your contract will continue in full force and effect for the remainder of its term once the suspension ends.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Ed, Keith, and Grady are available to you at any time and they will provide a list in the next few days of additional staff that are able to work and communicate with you during this period.

Be well and stay safe,

David Forst


Robert Murray also released via twitter a text from an anonymous A’s minor leaguer:


“You aren’t free to seek other employment in your profession. Suspend the benefits, but enforce the duties? How in the shit is that allowed in the United States?”

Also In response to the email release, Minor League Baseball player and Left-handed pitcher in the Minnesota Twins’ Organization, Mitch Horacek wrote via twitter:

“In other words:

“We will not pay you anymore, but you’re not fired, and you can’t go work for any of our competitors.”

A’s having their cake and eating it too.”


This does indeed open pandora’s box and reveals an inside look at the hardships that a Minor league ballplayer faces.


Photo Credit: Casino.org

From the email and the above comments, can a Minor league ballplayer claim unemployment? Besides COVID-19, an even tougher pill to swallow is that Minor League ballplayers are locked out of the negotiations between MLB and MLBPA because the MLBPA doesn’t represent minor leaguers. It’s like screaming in a desolate bubble and being blindfolded at the same time. 

Although other sports like the NHL (National Hockey League) seem to be taking strides to return, baseball is facing a long delay of game due to this circling storm. There is no doubt that the world is eagerly anticipating the return of sports. While The Aviators and other Minor League Baseball teams are ready to play, the war between the MLB and the MLBPA is still raging on. Every night fans go to sleep thinking, “Baseball is not going to start.” Then the next day, they wake up and realize the war is just a battle of attrition, and it’s a new day. Let’s just hope they can solve this problem before the MiLB becomes just another casualty of war.

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-Joshua Rushford – Franchise Sports Media

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