As if the long-suffering fans of the Chicago Cubs haven’t endured enough heartache these last 106 years, they are now seeing their games cut short because of Obamcare.
Onerous provisions of the Affordable Care Act were among the reasons the tarp crew for the notoriously losing baseball team failed miserably and pretty hilariously to cover the diamond inside Wrigley Field on Tuesday night during a sudden thunderstorm, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
The umpiring crew called the game in the fifth inning with the Cubs leading 2-0.
The tarp flop resulted in a highly unusual ruling by Major League Baseball officials to uphold a protest by the San Francisco Giants, the Cubs’ opponent that night.
It was the first successful protest by a Major League baseball team since 1986.
The tarp fiasco was caused in part because the Cubs grounds crew is short-staffed this year. The short-staffing situation has in turn been caused by the decision by Cubs management to keep the seasonal workers who maintain the field working fewer than 130 hours each month.
Anyone who works over 130 hours each month is defined as a full-time employee under the 2010 Affordable Care Act and is thus eligible for certain benefits.
Unidentified sources told the Sun-Times that the Cubs grounds crew supervisors sent 10 employees home on Thursday despite a weather forecast calling for thunderstorms “to linger” through Thursday and Friday. Consequently, the grounds crew was “undermanned.”
Officials with other Major League teams criticized the decision. “Cheap,” one told the Second City newspaper. “Embarrassing,” opined another, “and they got caught.”
Julian Green, a spokesman for the Cubs, described the staffing decisions as “organizational changes” made by management.
“Every organization, whether it’s baseball or corporate, is always continuing to evaluate inefficiencies, and obviously that translates to ours,” Green told the Sun-Times.
“However, our efforts to manage costs had nothing to do with the episode on Tuesday night,” he added.
Grounds crew workers refused to speak to local media, fearing for their 130-hour-per-month jobs.
After the protested game resumed at 4:05 p.m. on Thursday, the hard-luck Cubbies managed to eke out a 2-1 victory. The lovable losers then proceeded to lose Thursday’s regularly scheduled game with the Giants by a score of 5-3.
For the season, the Cubs have assumed their customary position in last place in the National League Central Division. The team has a record of 56-72 and is 15.5 games out of first place.