SAN JOSE (AP/CBS SF) — 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.
The San Francisco Giants’ have two Northern California minor league teams — the Triple-A Sacramento Rivercats and the Class-A Advanced San Jose Giants — that were affected by the announcement.
“It’s not wholly surprising, but that doesn’t make the formal announcement of today any easier,” San Jose Giants Chief Operating Officer Ben Taylor said in an interview with KPIX. “Since minor league baseball started in 1901, nothing like this has ever happened. It’s uncharted territory.. it’s a sad day for the industry as a whole.”
The San Jose franchise tweeted out a message regarding the cancellation of the 2020 season Tuesday afternoon, noting that health and safety were most important.
“Until we can welcome our San Jose community back for Giants games, we remain dedicated to providing unique opportunities to enjoy a taste of baseball at Excite Ballpark this ‘offseason,'” the statement attributed to General Manager Mark Wilson read.
— San Jose Giants (@SJGiants) June 30, 2020
The club is now focused on utilizing their space for other family-friendly activities. They held a drive-in movie night last weekend and fans were treated to a viewing of “The Sandlot” on the big video screen.
The Oakland Athletics closes minor league team, the Stockton Ports, also tweeted out a message.
A message from the Ports regarding today’s announcement from @MiLB.
— Stockton Ports (@stocktonports) June 30, 2020
The team noted that this would mark the first year since 1977 where there would be no professional baseball played in Stockton.
“We are disappointed by the news from MiLB that we will not be able to provide our fans and the Stockton community with quality baseball and family-friendly entertainment that they have come to expect at Banner Island Ballpark in 2020,” said Ports President Pat Filippone.