Game called on account of Obamacare!
Major League Baseball fans have never heard that one before, but according to a report in The Chicago Sun Times, that’s exactly what happened Tuesday night when the Cubs grounds crew, in the midst of a sudden downpour, failed to cover the field with a waterproof tarp fast enough to prevent the Wrigley Field playing surface from getting soaked so badly that it became unplayable.
Umpires were forced to call off the remainder of the game between the last-place Cubs and the San Francisco Giants. Because four-and-a-half innings had been played, the game was ruled “official” under Major League rules and the Cubs, who were ahead by a 2-0 score at the time, were awarded the win.
When the Wrigley Field grounds crew were attempting to get the tarp on to the field, a normally routine procedure for Major League grounds crews, it was clear that they were understaffed. But why?
According to the Sun Times report, the Cubs sent 10 grounds crew employees home early that day to make sure that their hours did not exceed exceed 130 in a month. Employees working more that that amount of time are defined as “full time” under the rules outlined in the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act — better known as “Obamacare” — and must therefore be offered health care benefits by their employers.
But the Cubs did not want to pay health care benefits to the workers, so as part of an off-season revamp, they cut employees’ hours to avoid having to pay for health insurance, as required by the Obamacare regulations.
Despite their lowly status in the baseball standings and their failure to win a World Series championship for the last 106 years — the longest streak without a championship in any American pro sport — the Chicago Cubs remain one of the most valuable and profitable organizations in Major League Baseball.
According to a Forbes survey, as of 2013 the Cubs were valued at $1 billion, the fourth-highest valuation of the 30 Major League teams. The Cubs also were baseball’s most profitable team, with $32.1 million in operating income. Forbes said that the Cubs were expected to do even better financially in 2014, even though they have languished in last place most of the season.
The Cubs went into spin control after the Sun Times report, with team spokesperson Julian Green acknowledging that the grounds crew members were sent home early, but saying the decision had nothing to do with the Obamacare mandate.
The “Obamacare Game” was resumed Thursday after the Giants protested and Major League Baseball upheld the protest, the first protest to be upheld in 28 years. The Chicago Cubs hung on to win 2-1.