This news does not come as a surprise, but the 2020 Minor League Baseball season has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. MiLB released a statement addressing the matter earlier Tuesday evening.
Per league president and CEO Pat O’Connor, “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.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, heavy financial constraints were placed on minor-league clubs across the country due to the fact their primary source of revenue comes from ticket sales.
Unlike their parent major-league clubs, minor-league affiliates do not have lucrative television or other media contracts to rely on in the absence of ticket sales and other gameday revenue, so getting through an entire season with teams playing in empty or nearly empty ballparks would have been virtually impossible.
Back in May, the Red Sox committed to paying their non-40-man-roster minor-leaguers $400 per week through the end of August, or what would have been the end of the minor-league season.
Without a minor-league season, it has been reported by Baseball America that some teams will allow their minor-leaguers to pursue opportunities in independent league baseball.
It is also worth mentioning that the Red Sox’ Triple-A affiliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox, were supposed to play their final season at McCoy Stadium this year before relocating to Worcester.
With Polar Park making progress towards its completion before the start of the 2021 minor-league season, it would seem as though the PawSox have already played their last game at McCoy, which they have called home since 1969.
On another note, the short-season affiliate of the Red Sox, the Lowell Spinners, probably won’t be affiliated with the Red Sox for that much longer, as the entire infrastructure of minor-league baseball appears to be headed towards rapid turnover. That much was made evident by this year’s amateur draft, which consisted of only five rounds to make it the shortest in MLB’s history to this point in time.
Minor-league baseball is an important aspect of the game for developing players and young fans alike. Despite that notion, the landscape of MiLB will probably never be the same beginning in 2021 if those aforementioned changed do take place.