Major League Baseball will not be providing players for their minor league teams for the 2020 season
VISALIA – The ongoing pandemic abruptly halted the sports world back in March, and leagues are slowly trying to start back up. Unfortunately for the Visalia Rawhide, they’ll have to wait till 2021 as the 2020 season for Minor League Baseball has been canceled.
On Monday, Major League Baseball released their condensed 60-game schedule for their teams. A week before that, they informed Minor League Baseball that they will not be providing players for the 2020 season. As a result, the Visalia Rawhide won’t be able to defend their 2019 California League Championship.
“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,” Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner said. “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.”
This was not shocking news to the Visalia Rawhide front office. There were talks of not being able to have fans at the games, which would have made it difficult for the organization to function financially.
According to Rawhide co-owner Sam Sigal, the team gets most of their revenue from ticket sales and ballpark profits such as concessions and souvenirs. They don’t get television revenue like major league teams, so they also rely heavily on sponsorship volume. With no fans in attendance at games, it would have been difficult for the team to offer value to their sponsors.
“We’re all in this business because we want to host people in the community and have baseball games, so it is disappointing, but no one was really surprised,” Sigal said.
Fortunately for the team, they had made progress towards preparing for the 2020 season, so they won’t have to start from scratch when preparing for 2021. According to Sigal, all the team can do now is just stay ready. Despite not knowing when they will be able to start preparing for 2021, the team will spend that season celebrating their 2019 championship as well as the 75th anniversary of Minor League Baseball in Visalia.
“The main thing is that the club isn’t going anywhere. We’re just as excited to get to 2021 as we are any other season,” Sigal said.