OGDEN — After being caught up in turbulence late in 2019, bad news continued Tuesday for fans of Minor League Baseball.
The 2020 Minor League Baseball season has been canceled.
"Major League Baseball has informed Minor League Baseball that it will not be providing its affiliated Minor League teams with players for the 2020 season. As a result, there will not be a Minor League Baseball season in 2020," a statement from Minor League Baseball said Tuesday.
That means no Ogden Raptors baseball until at least June 2021.
"The news is certainly disappointing," Raptors team president Dave Baggott told the Standard-Examiner. "We'll have a formal announcement in the next 24-48 hours as to the effect to Raptors baseball locally. But we will be playing baseball next year, that's a given."
For fans of short-season teams like the Ogden Raptors, the news has additional weight as the Pioneer League and about 34 other teams nationwide are being considered for contraction when it comes to Major League affiliation.
"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," MiLB president Pat O'Conner said in a news release.
In Ogden, affiliated baseball in 2021 is up in the air as the Professional Baseball Agreement that dictates the use of players signed to Major League clubs and rostered on their Minor League affiliates expires in September.
A plan credited to the Houston Astros proposes cutting many short-season teams out of affiliated minor league baseball with the intention of cutting costs, eliminating undesirable travel and keeping its players out of subpar playing conditions.
That plan would also seem ready to damage access and interest in the sport, removing it from dozens of cities across the country.
Baggott said in December 2019 that the idea of increased costs and poor facilities is a “made-up excuse" and said "they would rather disconnect grassroots baseball from millions of Major League Baseball fans so they can save approximately $600,000 per team.”
Negotiations surrounding the PBA took a backseat as the coronavirus pandemic halted the start of Major League Baseball's 2020 season in March. That put all of Minor League Baseball on pause as well.
Ogden's 2020 season was originally scheduled to begin June 19.
MLB now has a 60-game regular season scheduled to begin July 23. While there might have been some room in the calendar for shortened Minor League Baseball seasons, MLB ended that possibility Tuesday. This year's amateur draft was cut from 40 rounds to just five, additionally hindering the possibility of staging a successful Minor League season.
UPDATE: July 1, 2020
In a statement sent the following day, team president Dave Baggott said:
“We are so disappointed that the 2020 season will not be played, but we remain committed to providing a first class atmosphere while ensuring people’s safety and health when visiting Lindquist Field, the 'Best Ballpark View in the World.' As always, we will continue to support our Ogden community and look forward to Raptors Baseball returning in 2021.
"For all our 2020 Friends, Sponsors, Ticket Holders, and Fans, we will be reaching out to you in the near future for all the next steps in regard to your account with the Raptors Family. Our goal remains to be a valued member of your lives. We thank everyone for your continued support, understanding, and patience during this surreal moment in time.
"Please stay tuned to the Raptors Social Media and website for future summer events such as Movie Nights, Dinners on the Diamond, etc., so we can continue to host events this summer at Lindquist Field."