There will be no Minor League Baseball in 2020, as coronavirus concerns have scuttled operations across the MiLB, according to an announcement Tuesday evening. The decision was driven by Major League Baseball’s decision to not allow affiliated players to participate, according to the league.
“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,” says MiLB President & CEO Pat O’Conner in a statement posted to Twitter. “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 announcement comes on the eve of Wednesday’s opening of MLB’s “spring” training, with the big leagues scheduled to have opening day later this month. Some prospects will likely continue develpmental work throughout the summer, however there are limits to what options many professional ballplayers will have in 2020 due to the decision to shutter the minors.
ESPN breaks these concerns down in a post from Tuesday evening.
According to Wikipedia, there are 14 MLB-affiliated minor leagues and 160 revenue-generating teams, located in large, medium, and small cities and suburbs across the United States and Canada, and there are three MLB-affiliated rookie leagues with a total of 80 teams, located in Arizona, Florida, and the Dominican Republic.
Unlike their parent leagues, minor league franchises derive the majority of their income from fan attendance and onsite purchases, meaning there was likely no financial incentive to play a season without full fan attendance allowed.