Obamacare intrudes on the national pastime

A baseball game might be the last place you'd expect the passage of Obamacare to have a negative impact, but there is no doubt that the outcome of a game in Chicago between the Cubs and San Francisco Giants was historically affected by the ACA.

With the Cubs batting in the bottom of the 5th inning, a torrential downpour occurred, necessitating quick action by the grounds crew to cover the field with the huige tarp.

Unfortunatelly, executives from the front office - without consulting the head groundskeeper - sent 10 of the crew home early. This resulted in a fiasco nearly unprecedented in major league baseball history. The 15 remaining members of the grounds crew struggled to get the tarp to cover the field. The result: When the rain stopped, the field was unplayable. The game was called and the Cubs delcared the winner because the game had become "official" following the top of the 5th.

The Giants lodged an official protest - a pro forma action since no protest had been upheld in 28 years. But the league agreed with the Giants and ordered the game to be resumed the next day (the Cubs eventually won 2-1). The league said the Cubs failed “to properly wrap and spool the tarp after its last use."

The crew was sent home early because the team had cut their hours to 130 a month, thus making them part time workers as defined by Obamacare.

Here's a video showing the understaffed grounds crew trying to wrestle the tarp into position:

The Chicago Sun Times carried the organization's denials that Obamacare was at fault, but "multiple sources" within the organization say Obamacare had a direct impact on the decision to send the crew home.

“Embarrassing,” said one, “and they got caught.”

The Cubs played damage control on the issue much of Thursday, insisting staffing played no role in the problem and defending “the best head groundskeeper in the business,” as team spokesman Julian Green called the widely respected Roger Baird.

That the Baird and his grounds crew are better than most at their jobs and handled Tuesday as well as could be expected was not in dispute from anybody involved, ranging from umpires to Cubs executives, other team officials, players and media.

The issue is the short hand Baird was dealt by policies driven from the top of the business and stadium side of the operation, leading to a national embarrassment – which might have been preventable, if not foreseeable.

Sources say 10 crew members were sent home early by the bosses Tuesday night with little, if any, input from the field-level supervisors

Green doesn’t dispute that but says it’s common practice when the forecast calls for clear weather as he claimed Tuesday’s forecast did (contrary to several reports that day).

But sources say this year’s protocol has changed dramatically since the off-season shakeup with game-day personnel in anticipation of the ACA taking effect – along with the experience level in many areas because of resulting attrition.

You can bet that this is one statistic that will be kept secret; the number of employees nationwide whose hours are cut back so that companies don't have to pay their insurance premiums. It's already happening as evidenced by the actions of the Cubs front office.By 2016, we will know just how bad the problem is when Obamacare takes full effect.

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