FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Minor League Baseball was officially cancelled for the 2020 season Tuesday.
“It’s something that was starting to have the writing on the wall, but when the announcement finally came it didn’t really make it that much more fun or anything like that,” Sam Sigal co-owner of Visalia Rawhide said.
Sigal’s family spent several years, looking at about a dozens teams before falling in love with Viisalia and buying the Rawhide. This was going to be their first season with them, then the pandemic hit.
Minor League teams will not be provided with players from the majors, so their seasons are off.
Fresno Grizzlie’s president Derek Franks said they anticipated it, but it’s still a heartbreaking announcement to make.
“Although the circumstances are tough and we’d rather be playing baseball we’re going to put this time to good use so that our fans can come back in 2021 to an even greater experience, so we’re looking forward to the next few months really just diving into that and making it even greater than we could have given the normal circumstances,” Franks said.
The City of Fresno rents the stadium to the Grizzlies and Franks said they’ve been very supportive, pausing payments on their $500,000 annual rent.
A city representative sent a statement reading:
“We have been in constant communication with the Grizzlies since the COVID-19 pandemic began. We are talking about a variety of alternative payment plans, but have not landed on one yet. Meanwhile, our support of the Grizzlies, their ownership and management has not wavered one bit.”
Franks said they were looking forward to bringing some positivity to a tough time.
“We wanted our season to play a part in that, in the recovery, but with that not being possible we’re just happy that Major League Baseball has found a way to play and I know that baseball fans are looking forward to that, and we’ll be back strong next year,” he said.
Both teams are now looking towards the future, focusing on bringing the experience back safely.
“Making sure that when we can bring baseball back we all get that same feeling walking into a ballpark that we got before,” Sigal said.
Both teams say they’ll also be keeping an eye on local and state guidelines, looking for opportunities to host other events.