Jake N. (Creative Commons)
Opening Day is an unofficial holiday in Los Angeles. Every year, almost 60,000 Dodger fans descend upon Chavez Ravine to celebrate the beginning of a new baseball season.
For the past three years, I’ve spent my Opening Day working as a lot attendant at Dodger Stadium. I would rush around trying to get thousands of cars, trucks and other types of vehicles parked. I could also feel the excitement from the fans as they arrived with the smell of Dodger Dogs traveling from inside the stadium. But this year I spent that day at home watching Netflix.
Two weeks earlier, I received an email from my boss that I had been nervously anticipating.
“Per MLB, Opening Day has been postponed for at least two weeks,” the message read. “Please remain calm and safe. We will keep you updated as soon as we have more information.”
The update came five days later with big bold letters at the top of the message saying the earliest possible day for work was May 15, but that it “could be later though.”
My parking lot attendant job pays well, especially for a college student just trying to get by, but the catch is that it’s a seasonal job. When the Dodgers are on the road and there are no events going on at the stadium, there is no work.
Most of my co-workers live off unemployment during the offseason or have second jobs such as my supervisor, Edward Moran. He works traffic control at the Griffith Observatory when he’s not at Dodger Stadium, but Moran admits that the stadium job is his money maker.
“There’s no games … it is hitting me financially,” Moran said. “Right now I do have the observatory to lean on, which is a plus.”
Unlike my supervisor though, I don’t have another job. I usually take a few months off to focus on school. It’s a struggle during winter months, but I always know that I’ll have money coming in once spring starts. Now, that’s probably not happening due to the MLB’s decision to postpone games amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dodgers, along with the 29 other Major League teams, have committed $1 million to covering the pay of ballpark employees, but who knows how much of that I’m actually going to see.
There’s at least over 100 people who work in the parking lot alone, and that $1 million is supposed to cover us, ushers, security, food vendors and countless other jobs at the stadium. $1 million is a lot of money, but it’s going to get spread pretty thin.
“Honestly, I’ll take anything,” Moran said, adding he is doubtful the Dodgers will provide funds.
I don’t doubt for a second that the MLB made the right choice in suspending games. The coronavirus is an unprecedented risk for all of us and a 56,000 seat stadium would be one of the worst places to be during this time. It sucks to be missing out on my paycheck, but something greater is at stake right now.
My grandmother is considered high risk for coronavirus. She’s older than 70 and has diabetes and congestive heart failure. Me being around thousands of random people every day would have been a huge risk to her health so because of that, I’m okay with being out of work for now.
I have plenty on my plate as it is with my classes shifting online. I decided to move out of my dorm and back into my home in Covina. I was used to being on campus all the time, so it’s a weird feeling taking my classes while being over an hour away.
Even though school will be keeping me busy during this quarantine, it doesn’t change the fact that I’ll be without work — and money — for the foreseeable future. I depend on baseball season for almost all of my income, especially during summer months. Postponing the season was the right decision, but unfortunately my bills aren’t postponed.