If Major League Baseball is sputtering during the coronavirus lockout, the minor-league game is submerged under water.
Though all the league's stars want nothing more than to get back to action and do what they do best, those still fighting for jobs at the lower levels have been forced to reckon with the profession they've chosen. Their far-too-low wages have been under scrutiny in recent years, but without even those stipends (and without the ability to pick up a side hustle like, say, coaching high schoolers for a nonexistent season), minor-leaguers were firmly in danger of being forced to surrender their dreams for a more standard paycheck in a different field.
Luckily, MLB has announced a solution on Tuesday.
In an effort to keep the nation's minor-leaguers afloat, the league will pay out $400/week to each and every player in affiliated baseball.
Though the deal "ends" on May 31, it will endure until the season resumes (or, if the season doesn't resume, it will cover the entire year's worth of missing games).
While it sounds like a small handout, it's certainly better than an assured "0" in the income column, especially for lower-level players who are stuck between a rock and a hard place, forced to reevaluate their big-league dreams after a turbulent three weeks, during which the coronavirus made their path to success inviable.
MLB still does plenty wrong, especially when it comes to minor-league ball. These players deserve more assurances and more pay, and the 40+ franchises that may be eliminated don't deserve that fate at all. At the very least, though, this is a necessary life raft for those who must stay above water for the game's future to materialize.