Minor League Baseball Was Supposed to Open Today - Now We Just Have to Hope It Will Again Soon

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Minor League Baseball Was Supposed to Open Today – Now We Just Have to Hope It Will Again Soon

Chicago Cubs

The sports world has seen a lot of tough should-have-been days come and go, and today marks another: today should have been the start of the minor league baseball season.

It’s a hard one not only because of the joy that following minor league baseball can bring, but also because of the overall uncertain state of the entire minor league system thanks to the combined forces of the COVID-19 shutdown and MLB’s pre-existing efforts to reduce and reorganize farm systems.

As we sit here today, it is unclear when minor league baseball will start this year. It is unclear if minor league baseball will start this year. It is unclear what form minor league baseball will take even if it does start this year. And it is unclear what permanent changes to minor league baseball are about to happen because of the changes that will be spurred this year (like the shrinking of the draft, which will make it all the more simple to remove many lower-level minor league clubs).

Jesse Rogers writes about the state of minor league baseball, and it is an important read. Unlike MLB, there is no version of a minor league season that makes financial sense with teams playing in empty stadiums, throughout the minor league levels, across the country.

And since full crowds at games any time soon seems implausible … what happens to the minor league season?

The range, much like for big league baseball, is wide. In a dream scenario, where fans are cleared by health officials to start attending mass gatherings again in June or July (and want to do so), you could have the minor league season starting then and playing through September – so it would be shortened, maybe a little over three months instead of the typical five. But that would allow for the greatest sense of a “normal” year for those teams, and for developing prospects. And minor league players would receive compensation, low as it may be.

But if there is no ability to have fans at minor league games this year at all? Then there probably isn’t a minor league season, at least not one you’d remotely recognize. Instead only the minor leaguers who could be called upon to serve on big league rosters (expanded or otherwise) would probably stick around Spring Training facilities to stay sharp. (How exactly you pull that off safely with so many people already quarantined into central Arizona and playing at those same facilities? Lord if I know.)

Read Rogers’ report for more, but the long and the short of it is: when it comes to minor league baseball, we should all be rooting hard for incredibly good news in the fight to get our arms around COVID-19. It impacts everyone, and the health concerns are paramount. But minor league teams are small businesses, many of which will be put in permanent peril if there is no season. I really don’t want to see that.

South Bend Cubs Virtual Opening Day

Welcome to Virtual Opening Day LIVE from Four Winds Field!Share your photos in the comments section and tell us where you are watching from. Everyone who posts will be entered to win prizes that will be given away at the end of the broadcast.Remember to stay safe, be kind to one another, and let's have a little (socially distant) fun! #MiLBAtHomeOpener #CubsAtHomeOpener

Posted by South Bend Cubs on Thursday, April 9, 2020

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.