Regardless of how many games are played this year at Citizens Bank Park or whether fans are allowed to attend any of them, the Phillies won't reduce their full-time staff through the end of October.
Managing partner John Middleton made that pledge Friday in an email to club employees, multiple sources confirmed. While salary reductions are possible, Middleton promised more than 400 full-time employees in Philadelphia, Clearwater, Fla., and the Dominican Republic that they will keep their jobs and health insurance for at least five months.
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The announcement, initially reported by NBC Sports Philadelphia, came three weeks after Phillies employees were informed that their jobs were safe through May. Several teams made that same commitment, even as Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred took steps last month that enabled teams to lay off or furlough on-field personnel, including managers and coaches.
It’s unknown whether any other teams have yet to extend job security into the fall.
Within the last few weeks, optimism has increased throughout the sport that MLB will play this year, albeit a truncated schedule and most likely without fans in the seats. An official from one American League team said last week that he’s “100 percent sure” that a major-league season, in some form, will be played.
The Phillies' employment guarantee would seem to support that notion.
While several concepts have been floated – from isolating teams in Arizona, to returning clubs to spring-training sites in Arizona and Florida – the preference of the league and the players’ union is to play the season in each team’s home city. In every scenario, ballparks figure to be empty, at least at the outset.
Roughly 40% of most teams’ revenues last season came from ticket sales, luxury suites, parking, concessions, and other streams related to fan attendance. A sharp decrease in revenues could force salary reductions in every area of an organization, including potential the players.