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Iowa Cubs Owner Kept ALL Staff Paid During 604-Day Pandemic Hiatus

After 604 days without baseball, the Iowa Cubs returned to Principal Park in Des Moines.

But that doesn’t mean that Cub’s staff members went 604 days without pay.

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While most minor league baseball owners furloughed or laid off their staff members in 2020 due to the financial strain brought on by the pandemic, majority owner Michael Gartner, 82, tried to keep things in perspective and consider the future.

The organization made the executive decision to keep all of their employees on staff, and pay them full wages and benefits through the duration of the pandemic.

Michael Gartner (left) / TWITTER

“We kept everybody on full pay and benefits the whole time. We lost $4 million, but they needed the money more than I did.”

Michael Gartner, Iowa Cubs Majority Owner, via Des Moines Register

Opening day represented the diligence and dedication of the Cub’s staff, showing that their efforts in the offseason lead to a safe return to the stadium for fans. For the first time in 20 months, Iowa Cubs fans got to enjoy a game in-person on Tuesday, May 4.

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Safety was the highest priority with the reopening of the stadium. Seats were zip-tied to limit capacity. Lockers have been spread out in the locker rooms. Additional seating in outdoor areas was added, and buffer zones and quarantine rooms were designated as well.

“We work off of a simple business concept: safe, clean and fun. If it’s not safe and it’s not clean, then we don’t have to worry about fun because no one’s coming anyway.”

Sam Bernabe, Iowa Cubs President and General Manager via Des Moines Register

While some may criticize the organization’s decision to retain the full staff during the pandemic, it is a choice that has paid off in the long run. While other minor-league organizations have struggled to rehire this season, the Cubs were fully staffed and were ready and willing to take on the challenges for hosting a season amid a continuing pandemic. 

Props to the leadership and the team working with the Iowa Cubs- good things happen when people play ball (literally and figuratively) and cooperate for the common good!

Written by Abigale Racine