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Dodgers lay off employees, citing ‘economic devastation caused by the coronavirus’

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“This is a heartbreaking decision,” the team said in a statement.

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The ugly side of baseball reared its head again on Wednesday, with news that the Dodgers laid off employees, though the number of people affected is unknown.

Ramona Shelburne at ESPN was first to report the news on Wednesday. Jorge Castillo at the Los Angeles Times quoted team president Stan Kasten saying Dodgers’ losses in 2020 were “well north of $100 million.”

With MLB books closed to the public, it’s hard to verify that figure. But the Braves, owned by the publicly-traded Liberty Media, reported operating losses of $88 million through the first three quarters of this year, for what it’s worth.

In May the Dodgers announced a reduction in pay for several employees as a way to avoid layoffs at the time. Employees making at least $75,000 reportedly had their salaries trimmed on a graduated scale, with those at the top of the list seeing their pay cut by up to 35 percent.

After no fans in the stands at Dodger Stadium during the truncated 2020 season, and likely limited or no fans for at least the start of 2021, COVID-19 was cited as a reason for the layoffs.

“While the Dodgers had a championship season, the organization has not been immune from the widespread economic devastation caused by the coronavirus,” the Dodgers said in a statement released by a team spokesperson.

“Since March, we have worked hard to minimize the impact on our employees. The ongoing economic crisis, however, forces us to make difficult personnel decisions throughout the organization, going forward for the 2021 season. This is a heartbreaking decision. This year, more than ever, we are truly grateful for the role each member of our Dodgers family plays in our success.”

It’s hard reconciling calling someone family as they are being let go from said family, but here we are. It’s an ugly year.

Cutting costs is a trend across Major League Baseball this year, with various teams furloughing or laying off employees. Among the examples: