Because of COVID-19, odds are there will not be a minor league baseball season in 2020. No official decision has come down, but that may be on the verge of changing. Minor League Baseball’s board of trustees are scheduled to meet Tuesday, when they could make an official announcement on whether a season will take place, Evan Drellich of The Athletic reports.
“I think in the next 24 hours we’re going to find out what we’ve known for a month and a half now,” a minor league owner told Drellich.
A canceled season seems likely as a result of multiple key factors, as Drellich explains. For one, in the improbable event of a season, minor league teams would have to provide their own players because Major League Baseball suspended its agreement with the minors amid a national emergency. Additionally, from a financial standpoint, the minors would not be able to sustain a season with no fans in their ballparks.
It goes without saying that not having a season would have a detrimental effect on many individuals and teams throughout minor league ball. There may be an increase in furloughs and layoffs of employees, Drellich writes, and it’s possible some teams will have to file for bankruptcy if they’re unable to play this year. Notably, even before the coronavirus reared its head, MLB was exploring a “radical restructuring” that could eliminate about a quarter of minor league clubs. A season off (or a truncated campaign with empty stands) wouldn’t do those teams any favors.