Yesterday saw the announcement that we all knew was coming for the last two months – the 2020 Minor League Baseball season was cancelled. The writing for that has been on the wall since some point in April. Between nearly every state noting that there was no chance that they were going to allow fans in the stands, to a later report that Major League Baseball teams were planning on moving forward without a minor league season – it was everything but official.
But following the announcement of the cancellation of the season, Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner had a conference call with some media members and as reported by Baseball America, “It’s north of half (of MiLB teams) who could either have to sell (or go insolvent without government or other help),” O’Conner said. “This is the perfect storm. There are many teams that are not liquid, not solvent.”
There’s a hope that two bills in Congress right now will be lifelines for some of these teams. But if not, things could get very ugly for plenty of organizations. “It’s extremely difficult for us to project, because there is no end in sight in the immediate future,” O’Conner said. “Our clubs are committed. They are capitalized as best can be expected. We are in dire straits, and I still have grave concerns. What happens every day doesn’t alleviate any of my concerns.”
On top of so many organizations facing a financial crisis in which they may not be able to come out of, Major League Baseball is still planning on eliminating 40+ affiliated baseball teams from the minors. It’s very likely that we have seen the final Billings Mustangs game played while being affiliated with Major League Baseball. The same goes for the Greeneville Reds. And it may hold true for the Daytona Tortugas and Chattanooga Lookouts, who were on the original contraction list – but with teams moving onto, and off of the list – they have a better chance to stick around for multiple reasons.
With the financial difficulties that teams are facing, something like “we can survive into 2021” may be a difference maker between being placed onto the “safe” list when it comes to contraction. There are so many more moving parts today than there were in the fall of 2019 when the story first broke.
We may have to wait quite a while to see how it all plays out, though. MLB, while already having come to an agreement to get the 2020 season going, is still having ongoing negotiations about certain things with the Major League Baseball Players Association. Until that is completed, they aren’t likely to engage in conversations with MiLB about their agreement that comes to an end later this fall.
Leonardo Seminati is stuck in Cincinnati
Cincinnati Reds prospect Leonardo Seminati, like many minor league players, is unable to play baseball right now. Unlike many of them, though, he can’t go home. Seminati hails from Italy and the country is shut down to travelers. He wound up coming to Cincinnati where his fiance lives. Brandon Saho and WLWT 5 in Cincinnati had a short story last night on the situation.
Chasing the Major League dream. Reds prospect Leonardo Seminati's season is over, but he can't go home to Italy because of the coronavirus. "The town that I came from was the one that got hit the hardest." @WLWT #Reds pic.twitter.com/tMSo2NeT2R
— Brandon Saho (@BrandonSaho) July 1, 2020