WOAY – Following multiple media reports Tuesday afternoon, Major League Baseball announced that the 2020 Minor League Baseball season is canceled.
This would include the Rookie-level Appalachian League, where the Princeton Rays and Bluefield Blue Jays both play.
It’s the latest sports league to be significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; the Appalachian League had announced earlier this month that Opening Day – originally scheduled for June 22 – would be delayed indefinitely.
In a statement released Tuesday, Minor League Baseball President and CEO Pat O’Connor said, “These are unprecedented times for our country and our organization as this is the first in our history that we’ve had a summer without minor league baseball played…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.”
The Appalachian League also posted a statement, saying “The health and safety of the Appalachian League fans, players and staff members is our top priority….We are now counting down the days for us to finally be able to welcome all of you into our stadiums. But until then, stay safe, stay strong.”
In addition to the Rays and Blue Jays, West Virginia also has minor league teams in Charleston (the West Virginia Power, affiliated with the Seattle Mariners) and in Morgantown (the West Virginia Black Bears, affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates).