The Chicago Cubs’ efforts to skirt the requirements of the Affordable Care Act put the team at risk of losing a game and led to an embarrassing moment for its ground crew, Talking Points Memo reported.
The team’s problems began on Tuesday, when heavy rainfall forced their game against the San Francisco Giants to be suspended and declared a win for the Cubs. But the Cubs were criticized after the understaffed crew was seen struggling to deploy a protective tarp over the field.
But the reason the crew was short-handed, several sources told the Chicago Sun-Times, was the team’s decision to cut seasonal workers to less than 130 hours apiece per month.
The reduction in hours was reportedly done to avoid providing the employees health insurance as full-time workers under the healthcare mandate, commonly known as Obamacare. Around 10 crew members were allegedly sent home early on Tuesday, leaving 15 workers to try to cover the playing surface as rain pelted the area.
“Embarrassing, and they got caught,” one anonymous source told the Sun-Times.
The Giants successfully protested Tuesday’s result — the first successful protest of its kind in 28 years — and the game resumed on Thursday, though the Cubs still managed to win 2-1.
“There have been organizational changes. Every organization, whether it’s baseball or corporate, is always continuing to evaluate inefficiencies, and obviously that translates to ours,” team spokesperson Julian Green told the Sun-Times. “We’re no different than any organization trying to gain efficiencies. However, our efforts to manage costs had nothing to do with the episode on Tuesday night.”
The Cubs were valued at more than $1 billion by Forbes magazine, and rated as the most profitable franchise in Major League Baseball, based on their $32.1 million operating income.
The New York Times reported in 2012 that Joe Ricketts, whose family owns the team, commissioned several advertising plans opposing President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. One of the prospective plans called for the hiring of a Black conservative spokesperson who would argue that Obama had misrepresented himself as a “Black, metrosexual Abe Lincoln.”
Watch video of the Cubs’ groundskeepers trying to cover the field, as posted online earlier this week, below.
[Image: Chicago Cubs’ Luis Valbuena, via Facebook]