That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: 2020 Worse News for Baseball? –No Minor Leagues–

Reno Aces ballpark the Triple A team in Reno NV announced they will return for the 2021 season in a press release Dec 9th, 2020. The Aces are an affiliate for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Aces are a survivor of many of the minor league teams who are being cut in MLB (sierrasun.com file photo)

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Major League Baseball, after all, came out “very well”, during an abbreviated 60-game season, compared to other sports, playing during a worldwide Pandemic. But (in case some forgot) there was no Minor League Baseball in 2020.

As of 2018 there were 14 ML-affiliated Minor League teams. A total of 160 teams in large, medium and small markets across the country and also in Canada, plus a total 80 teams in three ML-affiliated rookie leagues in Arizona, Florida and the Dominican Republic.

It was on June 30, 2020 that it was announced there was not going to be Minor League Baseball this year. The announcement explained that the season had been shelved because Major League Baseball will not provide players. It was the first time the Minor League season was cancelled since the Minor Leagues were founded in 1901.

However, it was actually in (pre-covid) 2019 that Major League Baseball were planning to eliminate 42 Minor League teams, most in the lowest levels, with more than half of those 42 either at the Rookie League level or Short-Season, Class A. MiLB (Minor League Baseball) also is a revenue-generating business. Most minor league teams are not owned by major league clubs, but they have contracts as affiliates.

Generally teams in organized minor league baseball are generally owned and operated independently but most are directly affiliated with a major league team. Very important Milb, because they have contracts with MLB teams for player development. Because of what happened in 2020, MLB teams lost hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and therefore had furlough employees, some were told their services terminate at the end of this year.

In the Minor League with zero games played, and even with some payroll protection loans issued early, more jobs were lost. If MLB suffered by playing 60-games in 2020, you can imagine how much the Minor Leagues suffered with no season at all, not one game played. It is very important for baseball to keep their minor league structure for the future.

The game of baseball needs a lot of practice, repetition, seasoning “if you will” of their young talent. All players in the Minor League system have one goal. To be promoted to the Big Leagues, as simple as that. When I was playing as a kid in Cuba with my brother, or just playing catch with my father and on teams in the area.

I always dreamed of playing for a Major League team, I do not recall as a kid I ever dreamed of playing for the Cuban Sugar Kings of the Triple-A, International League, although that was a popular league as well as the Winter Leagues, kids dreams always relate to their Major League teams and stars, heroes.

Baseball has been always like that, and hopefully it will continue. We must remember than the overwhelming majority of the Major League stars began their professional careers and ascent to the Big Show in…yes, the Minor Leagues.

You cannot over emphasize the importance of the Minor Leagues. I can only hope 2021 will be played normally, and that there is a Minor League with younger players ready to come-up to the big team.

We all talk about how terrible 2020 has been, but we also must be positive and realize that we are ending this year with sort of a miracle. The development and approval of covid-19 vaccines, which took around 9 month from beginning to completion.

What Warp Speed Operation accomplished was unprecedented in the history of vaccines, we should be grateful that because of these vaccines (in days made available) millions of lives will be saved in the US and around the world, and this is exactly the news Baseball wanted to hear prior to 2021 Spring Training in Arizona and Florida, which is just two months and a couple of weeks away.

The Minority: These are some well known Major League Players, (some in the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown) who never played in the Minor Leagues. They came directly from High School or College to the Big Show: Al Kaline, Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller, Harmon Killebrew, George Sisler, Frankie Frisch, Joe Nuxall, Dick Groat, Dave Winfield, Mike McCormick, Mel Ott, Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Herb Washington.

Felíz Hanukkah and Felíz Navidad

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the vice president of the Major League Baseball Hispanic Heritage Baseball Hall of Fame Museum and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

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