The Orioles are making plans to keep their prospects and signed draft picks active and in developmental phase as Major League Baseball attempts to play a truncated season.
There are no affiliates to aid the cause.
The minor league season officially has been canceled due to COVID-19, with a press released sent out today to confirm what’s been known for a while.
What’s never happened until this summer.
“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,” 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.”
Minor League Baseball, which began as the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, was founded on Sept. 5, 1901.
The Orioles have four full-season affiliates with Triple-A Norfolk, Double-A Bowie, high Single-A Frederick and low Single-A Delmarva. They also supply players for short-season Single-A Aberdeen, the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles and two Rookie-level Dominican Summer League teams.
The next domino to fall could be the elimination of one affiliate in 2021. In the meantime, teams are confronted with the reality that they won’t play baseball this summer.
“We’re obviously devastated about these developments, even though we ultimately understand why this decision was made” Norfolk president Ken Young said in a statement. “This pandemic has altered life as we know it, and unfortunately it was determined that there was no way to play a season while keeping everyone as safe as possible.”
“Our entire organization is heartbroken by this announcement” said Tides general manager Joe Gregory. “The safety of our fans is paramount, and we hate that everyone will miss the annual experience of a ballgame at Harbor Park. We had so many exciting promotions scheduled for this year, but we’ll get to work on planning a 2021 season that will once again remind everyone how special professional baseball is in Hampton Roads.”
Similar statements were released by other Orioles affiliates.
“We are aware that our community shares our disappointment in learning that there will be no Bowie Baysox Baseball games this season,” said Bowie general manager Brian Shallcross. “We would like to thank our fans, corporate partners, season ticket holders and employees for their patience and support during this difficult and uncertain time. We now turn our focus to the 2021 season and the hopes of playing a full season next year.”
“We know this community shares our vast disappointment in learning that we will not be playing baseball this season,” said Frederick GM Dave Ziedelis. “We want to thank fans, corporate partners, suite holders, season ticket holders and employees for their incredible patience and support during this difficult time. We now turn our focus to 2021 and the hopes of playing a full season next year.”
“We are disappointed that the 2020 season will not be played, but we remain committed to providing a first-class atmosphere while ensuring people’s safety and health when visiting with us,” said Shorebirds GM Chris Bitters. “As always, we will continue to support our community during this challenging time and look forward to having Shorebirds baseball back at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in 2021.”