Minor league baseball is different than major league baseball in more ways than just salaries and size of crowds. As discussed in the following article, MiLB relies on having crowds, especially on their weekends and special give-a-way games for their lifeblood.
They cannot consider sending the teams to the Arizona desert or Florida swampland and televise them and hope that helps them move forward towards normalcy as the big boys have been discussing. Most also can’t survive with a stadium where everyone is sitting six feet apart.
As this crisis meanders onward, there is a growing chance that minor league baseball will be cancelled for the 2020 season. Now, this is on top of the recent news that MiLB is in negotiations with the MLB over potential contraction and realignment.
If the 2020 major league season does come back in some way shape or form and the minor league season does not, it will be interesting to see how MLB addresses this whole situation. Here are some thoughts:
- It is almost a given that if the MLB season does return that it will do so with a larger roster (28 to 30) to support the pitching situation where most pitchers will take a while to get their innings up to normal.
- It is possible that the teams will put their top minor leaguers into an extended spring training situation so that they will be playing in Arizona or Florida and available to be called up to fill in as needed.
- It is also likely that the MLB will skip their new rule of a roster expansion from 26 to only 28 in September. Maybe they will go back to the previous rule of allowing anyone from the 40-man to be called up.
- The Astros certainly would like to get more mileage on certain prospects to see if they are really MLB ready. This is especially true of anyone they may have lined up to help in the starting rotation as Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke are only signed thru 2021 or in the OF with George Springer, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick all hitting free agency after the 2020 season.
Minor league baseball has been a long time tradition for so many areas that are not in close proximity to a major league stadium or for those, like with the Sugar Land Skeeters who are close to a MLB team but want to pay much more reasonable prices to attend. They feature reasonable prices, closeness to the field, fun give-a-ways and an entertaining atmosphere. There is no doubt the MiLB landscape will be very different after this crisis is over and that is unfortunate.