ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — Baseball's minor leagues canceled their seasons on Tuesday after Major League Baseball decided not to provide any players to its affiliated teams amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the minor league governing body, made the long-expected announcement. The Professional Baseball Agreement between the majors and the minors expires after this season, and MLB has proposed reducing the minimum affiliates from 160 to 120.
MLB already had told clubs to retain expanded 60-player pools, of which 30 players can be active during the first two weeks of the season starting in late July.
“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 National Association president Pat O’Conner. “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.”
Between Maryland and Virginia, there are 15 minor league teams.
In Maryland, most are near the greater DC-area, including the Bowie Baysox, Frederick Keys, Hagerstown Suns, Aberdeen Ironbirds and Southern Maryland Bluecrabs.
In Virginia, the Richmond Flying Squirrels and Fredericksburg Nationals are the closest to the DC-area.
With the season being canceled, the economic impact of minor league baseball on cities may not be as bad as you would think.
According to a story by Business Journal, a study concluded that there are negligible positive economic effects on cities that host minor league teams. And, that the prestige of being connected to a major league city is a big reason people like having an affiliate in their towns.