It had been a foregone conclusion for some time, but today’s official announcement nonetheless hurts baseball fans around the world: The 2020 minor league season has been canceled.
The announcement came after Major League Baseball informed Minor League Baseball it will not be providing its affiliated teams with players this season. MLB clubs have designated 60 players who may appear during the planned 60-game major league season, with those players not on the active roster at any given time working out at alternate facilities.
The thousands of other players that fill out every organization are left with nowhere to play this year.
“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,” Minor League Baseball president and chief executive officer Pat O’Conner said 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.”
Founded in 1901 as the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Minor League Baseball has been a part of every summer since in hundreds of towns across North America.
For minor league franchises with long and storied histories, today’s news was difficult to accept.
“We’re very sad about this news, and there will be many hurdles to overcome between now and opening day 2021 next April,” said Kevin Kulp, president of the Harrisburg Senators, the Nationals’ Double-A affiliate since 1991. “However, I assure you, the Harrisburg Senators will persevere and be ready for next season. We are proud of the role we play in the Central Pennsylvania community and from this day forward we will be working to make the 2021 season very special.”
For other franchises, this season would’ve represented a new beginning.
“While we are completely heartbroken over the loss of our inaugural season in 2020, we look forward to many more seasons in the years to come,” said Nick Hall, general manager of the Single-A Fredericksburg Nationals, who just relocated from its former home in Woodbridge, Va. “We didn’t move to Fredericksburg for an amazing 2020 season. We moved to Fredericksburg for an amazing next 20 seasons.”
The Nationals have been planning to use the new complex in Fredericksburg to host its supplemental roster workouts this season, but that has not yet been finalized.
Other Nationals affiliates that saw their seasons canceled today include the Triple-A Fresno Grizzles, the Single-A Hagerstown Suns, the short-season Single-A Auburn Doubledays, and the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals and Dominican Summer League Nationals.