The Record Newspapers - Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

By Joe Kazmar
For The Record 

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

careers.

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.

 

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