HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Hartford Yard Goats announced the official cancellation of their 2020 season on Tuesday, as part of a bigger announcement by Minor League Baseball.
Just as the Travelers Championship last weekend proved we can have professional sports here in Connecticut, Minor League Baseball announces there will not be a season this year.
The main reason is, Major League Baseball needs the players. They’re still working out the details, but MLB is looking to start a short season later this month with as many as 60 players on each roster.
That is more than twice the usual size. So a lot of the players who would usually play in the minors will instead be in the bigs. Of course, there are plenty of players who will not be so lucky and will not play at all this year.
The Yard Goats actually topped 400,000 fans in attendance last season, the first Connecticut team ever to do that, so this is particularly disappointing. Dunkin’ Donuts Park will not be empty the whole year.
However, News 8 was told by a reliable source that some local amateur teams have already been using it. And the park can still be rented out for things like weddings and bar mitzvahs, as long as they meet state regulations about group size and social distancing.
This is the first time in the 120 year history of minor league baseball that a season has been canceled.
Last season, the Yard Goats drew a franchise record 414,946 fans, including 51 sellouts, and led the entire Eastern League in total attendance for the second straight year. The Yard Goats became the first minor league baseball club in Connecticut history to attract over 400,000 plus fans in consecutive seasons.
The Norwich Sea Unicorns are also impacted as a Major League-affiliated team.
“While we are disappointed to be unable to entertain our great fans this summer, we understand the unprecedented nature of the circumstances surrounding the news that there will be no 2020 Minor League Baseball season,” said Sea Unicorns General Manager Dave Schermerhorn. “The most important thing is the health and safety of our community, the fans, staff and players that make Dodd Stadium a summertime home away from home for so many.”
The Sea Unicorns’ season had been set to begin on Thursday, June 18th and would have been the 26th season of Minor League Baseball at Dodd Stadium in Norwich.
“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,” said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner.