The Minor League Baseball season was officially canceled Tuesday as Major League Baseball informed the organization it would not provide players for its affiliates in 2020.
“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,” said Pat O’Connor, CEO and President of Minor League Baseball. “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.”
That means for the first year in this century, there will be no Dayton Dragons games at Day Air Ballpark, which was known as Fifth Third Field until being renamed in January.
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The Dragons started play in the Midwest League in 2000 as a Single-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and have sold out 1,385 straight games. About 11.5 million fans have watched the team play in Dayton.
“This is a disappointing day for many,” Dragons president Robert Murphy said in a statement. “We have worked very hard during the off-season to make the 21st season of Dragons Baseball a great one here at Day Air Ballpark. However, the safety of our community, fans, players, and our staff is paramount. We will now work with our state government, local government, public health directors, Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, and the Midwest League to ensure that we are prepared to open the ballpark for our 21st season next year in 2021.
“There are still many unknowns moving forward on large mass gatherings, but we will work tirelessly to ensure that when you come to Day Air Ballpark, not only will it be fun, affordable, and exciting — what you have come to know and love about Dragons baseball for the last 20 years — but also very safe.”
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The Dragons announced they will contact all season-ticket holders, suite lease holders, group leaders, hospitality renters and single game buyers about their options.
“This information will be sent via postal correspondence, be placed on the Dragons website, and posted on all Dragons social media locations in approximately two weeks,” the Dragons announced.
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This will be the first season in more than a century without Minor League Baseball. It was founded on Sept. 5, 1901, as the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues.
Among the many organizations affected by the cancellation of the season the Triple-A affiliate of the Reds, the Louisville Bats.
“While we are disappointed that we will not have Bats baseball at Louisville Slugger Field this summer,” Bats President Vic Gregovits said in a statement, “our first priority is the safety of our fans, players, and staff during these unprecedented times. We anxiously await the 2021 season, welcoming fans back to the ballpark, and the return of the words, ‘Play ball.’”
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