Missions season at the mercy of MLB’s ongoing postponements

Yarbrough: “It’s been changing by the hour”

SAN ANTONIO – With Spring Training camps in Arizona and Florida closing over the weekend due to the coronavirus pandemic, any hope that professional baseball would start up in April was quickly vanishing.

Those fears were put in writing on Monday morning.

In an official statement, Major League Baseball announced that the opening of the 2020 season has been pushed back at least eight weeks. That means players won’t see live game action until May or later. While the ongoing postponements continue to rock the baseball community at the highest levels, it’s also wreaking havoc in the minors, with clubs at the mercy of decisions made by parent organizations.

“It’s been changing by the hour,” Missions President Burl Yarbrough said. “I went out to Spring Training last week to see four games, got to see one and everything got cancelled. We’re still trying to put our hands around everything, and we hope to learn more in the next few days.”

The biggest struggle comes with developing a schedule for hourly and part-time employees, especially with all of the work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure Wolff Stadium is prepared for the start of the regular season.

“The last month before the season is the busiest of all for us," Yarbrough explained. "Everybody was kind of doing the normal routine, but in the last week that all screeched to a halt. We have 70 home games. Those are 70 revenue opportunities that we’re probably not going to have this year. We don’t know how many we will have. This is a tough situation for everybody, and it’s certainly affecting every American.”

Employees aren’t the only ones left in limbo. Unlike other professional sports where preseason activities are often overlooked, Spring Training is just as vital for starters as it is for rookies.

“This is a sport that you really have to ramp up to," Yarbrough said. "In baseball, the pitchers need some time to get their arms ready to go, so depending on how long they’re not at Spring Training, it’s going to keep setting us back.”

Regardless of the rapidly changing timetable, Yarbrough believes that the upcoming season will be more successful than ever, “I think when people have the opportunity to go out and see baseball again, it’s going to be big, and it will rebound. We just hope that by starting late, we’ll help this whole pandemic run its course.”

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