There will not be minor league baseball in 2020. Reports of the shelved season have been ongoing throughout day on Tuesday, but the league made things official during a 5 p.m. press conference and subsequent press release. In Kentucky, the news means the Lexington Legends, the Louisville Bats and the Bowling Green Hot Rods are officially on hiatus until further notice. The league originally suspended the season on March 12 amid coronavirus concerns.
The announcement attributes the decision to a lack of players, as the MLB informed the MiLB it would not be providing players to its affiliated teams. There are 160 teams spread across the country, and properly implementing health and safety protocols – including frequent testing or attempting any kind of NBA-like “bubble” – would have been nearly impossible with the league’s limited resources.
This will be the first summer without Minor League Baseball since the league’s founding in 1901.
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) June 30, 2020
It’s unclear at this time whether or not players, coaches or other team personnel will be paid during this period. However, some teams have committed to paying their players $400 stipends through September, according to NBC Sports.
What’s next? For the most part, local organizations can keep doing what they’ve been doing since coronavirus originally postponed the season back in March.
For example, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and Salem-Keizer Volcanoes have turned their ballparks into Airbnb properties for fans to rent out overnight. Others have hosted in-park restaurants, farmers markets, high school games, drive-in movies and anything else teams have been able to dream up for revenue while still following their state’s social distancing guidelines.
In Lexington, Whitaker Bank Ballpark – the home of the Legends – is hosting the first College Commonwealth Baseball Club on Tuesday evening beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Legends announced safety protocols and an adjusted capacity will be utilized for this outing and any subsequent games held in the ballpark.
The Legends are sad to announce that the 2020 Minor League Baseball season has officially been canceled. We miss our fans a TON!
But remember we do still have college wood bat baseball going on! pic.twitter.com/muDRIfIQyT
— Lexington Legends (@LexingtonLegend) June 30, 2020
Rest in peace to dollar beer nights. Summer 2020 just keeps getting worse.