After 604 days away from the field, Iowa Cubs baseball returned on May 4, 2021. While preparing the stadium with all the precautions for reopening wasn't easy, morale was boosted by the loyal care of team owner Michael Gartner, who kept the entire staff on full pay and benefits all throughout the canceled 2020 baseball season. While most minor league baseball owners furloughed or laid off full-time staff members in 2020, Gartner, 82, took a long-term view and kept everyone on board, stating, "We lost $4 million, but they needed the money more than I did." While his commitment to his employees hurt the franchise's finances last year, the decision paid off as the 2021 season rolled around. While other minor league organizations scrambled to rehire and find new workers, the Cubs were fully staffed and ready to implement pandemic precautions for reopening.

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