FREDERICK, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - While some professional sports leagues are on the verge of return, others are moving in the opposite direction. This week Minor League Baseball announced that its 2020 season is officially canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s a major blow to teams like the Frederick Keys, who won’t take the field for the first time since 1989.
“I held out hope until the last second,” Keys Director of Marketing Maci Hill said. “I was like, ‘No this is definitely going to happen. It’s going to be fine.’ So definitely disappointed.”
The Keys were already facing some adversity even before the pandemic. Late last year, they appeared on a list on minor league teams that could be contracted in a new operating agreement between Major League Baseball and the minors. Then, the team was able to maintain its full payroll through June with the help of a Paycheck Protection Program loan, before ultimately having to furlough some staff members in July.
“We’re hoping that in January we can be back fully staffed,” Hill said, adding that the Keys are definitely coming back in 2021.
They’re not alone. Representatives of area teams like the Bowie Baysox, the Aberdeen IronBirds, and the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs all told FOX 5 they’re looking forward to next season.
“Minor League baseball staffs are some of the most creative and inventive people out there,” Baysox Assistant General Manager Phil Wrye said via email. “We know how to entertain people with string and cups. We work hard and make things happen and across our industry that is what is taking place.”
While Minor League Baseball won’t have a 2020 season, Major League Baseball likely will. They’re scheduled to start a 60 game season – in empty stadiums – at the end of the month.