Minor League's 2020 Season Canceled
Last updated 7/7/2020 at 8:40pm
Another one bites the dust!! Last week the brain trust of professional baseball
announced there will be no 2020 minor league baseball season due to the coronavirus.
This hit close to home for me because more than a half century ago, I was playing
minor league baseball with the Chicago Cubs organization.
Back then, very few minor leaguers were in it for the money, because most of
them were corralling less than a thousand dollars a month.
And the minor league baseball season lasted only five months, so a player either
had to find some kind of winter job or else go back to college for the fall semester.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Winter Instructional League at the
Cubs’ spring training facility in Mesa, AZ. at the end of my first season in the minors
which was split between Middlesboro, Ky. in the Appalachian (Rookie) League and
Pocatello, Idaho of the Pioneer League.
The paycheck for the Instructional League was in the form of an expense check
which amounted to a little less than a minor league salary.
Today’s minor leaguers average about three times more than in the 1960’s, but
with no season this summer, it will force many of them to get a “real” job and perhaps
end their professional baseball careers. This was the first time since 1901 that there
wasn’t a minor league season.
Pat O’Conner, Minor League Baseball’s president and chief executive,
optimistically commented after announcing the news of no 2020 season, “While this is a
real 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.”
Unlike franchises in the majors, minor league teams rely heavily on revenue from
people in the stands—tickets, beer and hot dog sales and sponsorships tied to attendance,
according to an article appearing in the Houston Chronicle last week.
O’Conner estimated that 85-90 percent of revenue was related to ticket money,
concessions, parking and ballpark advertising. The minors drew 41.5 million fans last
year for 176 teams in 15 leagues, averaging 4,044 fans per game.
Minor league teams earn an average of $70,000 in gross revenue per home game
and $5.4 million per year. Most of the money goes to operating expenses, including
paying employees (each team averages 21 full-timers and 200 seasonal workers). MLB
teams have paid for and provided the minor league players and coaches.
In addition, the Professional Baseball Agreement between the majors and minors
expires Sept. 30 and MLB has proposed to reduce the minimum affiliates from 160 to
120 in a cost-saving measure.
Because the minors do not have widespread TV or streaming deals, it would not
be feasible for minor league baseball to play games in empty stadiums as MLB plans to
do. Also, Minor League Baseball plays in smaller towns across the country and would
have to negotiate many more state and local reopening guidelines, the article added.
Without a season, several minor league owners fear some teams would fold
permanently because they could not go 18 months without revenue, giving MLB the
minor league contraction it has sought.
O’Conner said that more than half of the minor league team owners could either
be forced to sell their teams or go insolvent without outside financial help.
And many of the 8,000 minor leaguers –those who are not part of their affiliated
MLB team’s 60-man player pool for the 2020 season—will miss an entire year of their
Fortunately, most major league teams committed to paying their minor league
players –many of whom earn less than $15,000 per season--$400 per week a week
beyond June 30, which is right now.
KWICKIES…Three Washington Redskins’ minority owners (40 per cent) are
wanting to sell the franchise because they are not happy with team owner Dan Snyder
and his view on getting rid of the Redskins mascot.
Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona believes the team should drop their
Indians mascot because “it’s not good enough to say we’re not trying to be disrespectful.”
Japan plans to allow fans to watch professional baseball and soccer games
beginning on Friday.
Bryson DeChambeau birdied four of the first seven holes in Sunday’s final round
of the PGA Tour Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit to win the event by three strokes
over 21-year-old Matthew Wolff, who went into the final round with a three-stroke lead
but hurt his chances with five bogeys on the first 10 holes. DeChambeau’s win earned
him a $1.35 million winner’s check.
Lone Star Park canceled eight of its nine scheduled horse races last weekend
because of coronavirus concerns. The announcement was made about 45 minutes after
the first race was completed.
Boise State announced last week that it is discontinuing its baseball program after
the school was forced to cut short its first season in 40 years with only a few games
played this spring. The school also has cut women’s swimming and diving because of
budget constraints and should reduce the overall budget by nearly $3 million.
JUST BETWEEN US…Question—What do the Houston Astros and Texas
A&M Aggies have in common? Answer—They both got caught cheating.
Question—What’s the difference between the two teams? Answer—The Astros were
World Champions in their cheating year while the Aggies merely won a few Southeastern
Conference games in theirs.