PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Officials announced Tuesday the Minor League Baseball’s 2020 season is canceled.
Major League Baseball told the MiLB it would not be providing players for its affiliates.
“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 news release. “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.”
The minor league began back in 1901. This is the first time since then it hasn’t had a season.
It will also be the first time in 27 years that metro Grand Rapids’ MiLB team, the West Michigan Whitecaps, won’t play.
While Whitecaps officials said they understand the public health factors that led to the decision, they are disappointed they can’t play.
“This is really tough because it’s a time when something like Minor League Baseball is probably really needed in terms of what’s going on,” Whitecaps CEO Joe Chamberlin said during a Wednesday morning press conference. “From coronavirus to important societal issues, I fully understand that baseball’s not the solution, but having a ballpark and a venue where everyone can come together as a community could certainly be meaningful and impactful in our current climate. So missing out on an opportunity to open up 70 times this summer for our fans hurts our collection organization heart a little.”
But he said the Whitecaps are already looking forward to next year.
“The journey to opening day 2021 is certainly going to have its challenges but I promise baseball will be back,” Chamberlin said. “And if there’s every a party you don’t want to miss, it will be opening day 2021.”
Based on current estimates, when the Whitecaps resume play, it will have been 589 days between games at Fifth Third Ballpark.