In an expected move, MLB effectively canceled the 2020 minor league season Tuesday, informing Minor League Baseball they would not send players to their 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 MiLB president Pat O’Conner in a statement.
O’Conner shared his “grave concerns” for the future of the league during a virtual press conference, emphasizing the bleak financial situation the organization faces without their primary revenue stream.
“We are in dire straits, and I still have grave concerns,” said O’Conner, adding the minors would go through a second round of furloughs soon. “What happened today doesn’t alleviate any of my concerns.”
O’Conner believes that “north of half” of MiLB teams could sell or go insolvent without immediate financial intervention from the government. The league is currently seeking federal loans from Congress, which the commish described would be “a lifeline to get to the other side of what is a national crisis.”
Closing the minor league season was the logical end of numerous league decisions, many of them influenced by the continued spread of the coronavirus, which led to the season being suspended on March 13.
Big league clubs cut farmhands across the country while the league shortened their first-year player draft from its usual 40 rounds down to five. Even as the league makes its second attempt at playing through the pandemic, team 40-man rosters were expanded to 60, with each big league team allowed to keep additional minor league players on standby for call-ups in case of injury, performance or COVID-19 infection.
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