Major League Baseball was always going to do everything in its power to ensure that a 2020 season was played, even amid a raging COVID-19 pandemic. There was too much money to be lost and too much harm that could be done to the sport’s future if the league simply took the year off.
Minor League Baseball, on the other hand, is enough of a small-money venture — and is so spread out over the United States and Canada — that it was never going to be realistic or financially worth it for any of its teams to enact the protocols (no fans in the stands, frequent testing, added travel precautions, etc.) necessary to play in 2020. That’s why Tuesday’s news that MiLB is officially cancelling its 2020 season wasn’t surprising in the least:
While this news isn’t unexpected, it’s extremely sad for people across the sport. While MLB owners are billionaires who will likely be just fine even if the 2020 major-league season never gets off the ground, MiLB owners largely are small business operators who are really going to be hurt by not having a season this year. It’s extremely tough for fringe minor-league players — those who won’t be part of their major-league organizations’ 60-man player pools and will be further up against the odds next year (or whenever baseball returns to normal), as they’ll be older and will have gone a long while without getting anything even slightly resembling game reps. And while some minor-league coaches may be able to work at their big-league organizations’ alternate training facilities once the MLB season gets underway, there are countless other developmental coaches trying to work their way up the ladder — as well as minor-league front office employees and broadcasters — who will have to put their hopeful ascencion to the big leagues on hold.
And on top of all the people who are going to have their careers and financial situations affected by this season not taking place, Minor League Baseball is just really fun to watch and follow — and that’s true for everyone, but especially people who don’t live in a major-league city or are looking for a more financially-friendly alternative to a big-league game. So while it’s understandable that it doesn’t make sense to play this year from a health perspective, it’s still just really unfortunate. Here’s hoping that the country can enact measures to get the coronavirus pandemic under control enough so Minor League Baseball can return in 2021.