Missions, Minor League Baseball seasons canceled, future in doubt

Burl Yarbrough: "News we expected, but it’s still a very sad day"

San Antonio Missions Logo (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – The Missions’ season is officially over before it even began.

Tuesday afternoon, Major League Baseball informed Minor League Baseball that they would not provide any players to affiliated minor league teams due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision effectively canceled the 2020 Minor League Baseball season. The Missions confirmed the news via a press release. It is the first time Minor League Baseball has canceled their season since the league’s inception in 1901.

“This is news we expected, but it’s still a very sad day to know we won’t have professional baseball in San Antonio this summer,” Missions President Burl Yarbrough explained. “We look forward to things getting better and know that Opening Day 2021 will be really special. We’ve been around since 1888 with only a few occasions without baseball. We’ll come back strong. Baseball fans in San Antonio have always supported us.”

Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner addressed the media remotely this afternoon and explained the decision to cancel the season.

“This has been months in the coming,” O’Conner said. “This has been the epiphany and the realization of where we are and what’s in front of us. It was the right thing to do, but probably in a practical sense it was really the only thing to do. At the end of the day, it was an insurmountable list of challenges, and the clock just ran out.”

With this season officially put to rest, the concern now shifts to the future of Minor League Baseball as a whole. Many clubs struggle to make ends meet with a season in full swing, and with the pandemic effectively wiping out all revenue for an entire season, the question now becomes how many organizations will survive the financial crisis and play again. O’Conner didn’t shy away from that looming threat.

“This is the perfect storm. The coronavirus has really cut into many clubs’ ability to make it, and I think that without some government intervention, without doing something to take on equity partners, you might be looking at half of the 160 who are going to have serious problems. This threat from the coronavirus transcends any list that anybody wants to make with respect to the possibility that teams might not be around the future. Traditionally very strong clubs could be in serious trouble.”

Later in his presser, O’Conner did voice his belief that the current financial crisis could have a lasting impact on Minor League Baseball for the next 3 years, but he remained positive that interest in the sport will help the struggling franchises recover.

While the Missions will not play at Wolff Stadium this year, the Flying Chanclas de San Antonio will. The Texas Collegiate League summer team takes the field in Amarillo tonight for their first game and will return to the Alamo City for their first home game on July 3.


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