Minor League Baseball cancelled the 2020 season on Tuesday amid challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic ending the seasons for the Hartford Yard Goats and Norwich Sea Unicorns before they had a chance to get started.
Major League Baseball informed MiLB that it will not provide its affiliated minor league teams with players for this season, a press release said.
"As a result, there will not be a Minor League Baseball season in 2020," the league's announcement read.
"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," Minor League Baseball President and CEO Pat O'Conner said in a statement. "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."
This means no official MiLB games will be played in 2020 at Dunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford, the home of the Hartford Yard Goats, the Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.
The Hartford Yard Goats confirmed the news in a press release and tweet late Tuesday afternoon. "The Hartford Yard Goats Baseball Club, the Double-A Eastern League affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, have been informed by Minor League Baseball that the 2020 season has officially been canceled," the release said.
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"It is with a heavy heart we announce that Minor League Baseball informed us today that the 2020 Yard Goats season has been canceled," the team said in a tweet. "While this news is not a surprise at this late date, it is disappointing."
The Yard Goats' regular season had been scheduled to begin in April and run through September. Opening day was set for April 9.
"We’ll miss our season ticket holders and partners who visit day in and day out, our fans who fill the seats with family & friends, and our dedicated game day staff. Most of all we’ll miss the cheers, and the smiles, and the looks of amazement on the faces of our littlest fans," the team said.
For fans who purchased tickets for a 2020 Hartford Yard Goats home game, they will be contacted soon by a Yard Goats representative, the team said.
The team is expected to host events and offer private rentals at the ballpark this summer with more details to be announced soon.
The Norwich Sea Unicorns were preparing for the team's inaugural season, which was set to start on June 18. The team is the New York-Penn League affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.
“While we are disappointed to be unable to entertain our great fans this summer, we understand the unprecedented nature of the circumstances surrounding the news that there will be no 2020 Minor League Baseball season,” said Sea Unicorns General Manager Dave Schermerhorn in a statement. “The most important thing is the health and safety of our community, the fans, staff and players that make Dodd Stadium a summertime home away from home for so many.”
The Sea Unicorns said the team is working with the city and state to look at opportunities for other events to hold at the stadium.
Even if an MiLB season was to be able to take place, a lot of the guidance as to what would be permitted in Connecticut would rest with the state and the governor.
Connecticut is currently in Phase 2 of its reopening plan with Phase 3 set to begin in mid to late July. A date for the resumption of large outdoor sporting events has not been announced though the Travelers Championship took place last week in Cromwell, but without any fans.
In addition, Connecticut recently enacted a 14-day quarantine for travelers to Connecticut from states with high COVID-19 infection rates based on their rolling average data.
The Yard Goats drew a franchise record 414,946 fans during the 2019 season.