BOSTON (CBS) — Major League Baseball will play a shortened season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The minor leagues will have no such luxury.
The 2020 minor league season officially canceled on Tuesday. It’s a long-awaited announcement from MLB that has been months in the making, as the league was waiting to figure out its own 2020 season before officially putting the kibosh on the minor league campaigns.
“These are unprecedented times for our country and our organization as this is the first time in our history that we’ve had a summer without Minor League Baseball played,” said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner in a statement. “While this is a sad day for many, this announcement removes the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and allows our teams to begin planning for an exciting 2021 season of affordable family entertainment.”
Several minor leaguers will find a spot in the majors when “summer camp” opens this week, and others will be put on taxi squads for the 60-game season set to begin on July 23, but others will lose an important season of development. For 160 teams across the country, it means a lost season altogether.
Locally, the Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston’s Triple A affiliate) will lose their final season in Rhode Island before moving to Worcester next year. Along with the Portland Sea Dogs in Maine (Double A) and Lowell Spinners (short-season Single A), Boston’s affiliates will have to continue have to find other ways to earn some money without the luxury of games, as Pawtucket has done with “Ballpark Dining” at McCoy Stadium and the Sea Dogs will do next week when they host golf at Hadlock Field.
Tuesday’s news has been long expected, but that doesn’t make it any easier for farm teams across the country to accept.
“Naturally, as baseball fans, we are deeply disappointed to not have a summer of PawSox Baseball, especially in our 50th-anniversary season,” said Pawsox club president Dr. Charles Steinberg. “Yet all of us recognize that the health, safety, and well-being of our players, fans, and entire community are paramount. But we will keep the faith; this may not be how the story ends.”