Grizzlies to furlough up to 75% of staff amidst uncertainty of minor league season

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Grizzlies will furlough a large part of its staff effective June 1st. Team president Derek Franks said the combination of full and partial furloughs would reduce the team staff by 75%.

"Businesses all across the country are struggling, and we're a small business as well," Franks told Action News. "We've finally had to make the decision to furlough some of the staff until we have more certainty of what's next for a 2020 season."

The team closed down its downtown office on March 13th, and front office staff have been working from home. In April, the entire staff took a 20% reduction in pay to, "Buy ourselves more time," Franks said.

ESPN: Minor League Baseball cuts hundreds of players amid pandemic

While negotiations continue on whether or not there will be a Major League Baseball season, the Minor League Baseball league season is in serious question.

Franks said if the season is canceled, it will be 18 months between the Grizzlies last game and their first game of the 2021 season. "When you look at business interruption, for a seasonal business like all of us in sports, the pause is much longer."

The team has scheduled some concerts and other events with promoters that they were hoping to put on for later this year. But the uncertainty of when California might get to phase 4 of re-opening, "Creates a lot of uncertainty for those non-baseball events too," Franks said.

Team management hopes that the furloughs will be short and that everyone can come back whenever there is a season to be played.

Franks added, "The bright side for us of being able to furlough our staff is they can stay on the health plan, and we can develop our game plan for how to bring them back as soon as possible."
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