Sahlen Field in Buffalo, Dwyer Park in Batavia and all minor league professional ballparks throughout the nation will stay quiet and closed this summer. Minor League Baseball on Tuesday announced the cancelation of the 2020 season for all of its leagues.
Among the numerous affected clubs are the Buffalo Bisons, who were supposed to open the season back on April 9. But the COVID pandemic first postponed the season and has finally called it off.
"Although it may not be surprising given how our world has changed over the last few months, the official news that we will not have baseball at Sahlen Field this summer is heart-breaking,” said Mike Buczkowski, President of Rich Baseball Operations, in a prepared statement. "Not being able to share with our great fans the excitement of Bisons baseball on those beautiful Buffalo summer nights is going to leave an awful void in our entire organization."
Bisons fans who bought season tickets, ticket packages or group party reservations for 2020 will be given the option of applying them to the 2021 season or getting a refund. Sahlen Field and all amenities inside will remain closed, but merchandise sales will continue online with curbside pickup.
News of the cancelation of the season is especially concerning to fans of the Batavia Muckdogs. The Class-A short-season members of the New York Penn League were one of 42 teams whose affiliations were slated to be cut by Major League Baseball. Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball have not met since April 22, and with Major League Baseball in a labor dispute with its players during the delay of its own season, a proposed realignment of affiliates is no closer to completion.
But with Major League Baseball informing Minor League Baseball it would not provide players to its respective affiliate clubs this summer, cancelation of the latter's season became inevitable.
"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 and CEO Pat O'Conner in a prepared statement released on MiLB.com. "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."
Summer collegiate baseball leagues, amateur leagues featuring college players, canceled their seasons earlier in the spring. These include the New Yorl Collegiate Baseball League, whose members include the Niagara Power and Olean Oilers, and the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, whose affiliates include the Jamestown Tarp Skunks.