Baseball’s minor leagues cancel seasons; Gwinnett to host Braves’ extra players

ajc.com

Credit: Chad Rhym

Credit: Chad Rhym

Baseball's minor leagues canceled their seasons on Tuesday after Major League Baseball decided not to provide any players to its affiliated teams amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the minor league governing body, made the announcement. The Professional Baseball Agreement between the majors and the minors expires after this season, and MLB has proposed reducing the minimum affiliates from 160 to 120.

MLB already had told its clubs to retain expanded 60-player pools, of which 30 players can be active during the first two weeks of the season starting in late July.

“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,” National Association president Pat O’Conner. “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.”

The decision means the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate Gwinnett Stripers will not have a season. But the Braves’ pool of available players who aren’t on the roster will work out at Coolray Field, the home of the Stripers, in Lawrenceville.

The group of roughly 30 players can contribute to the major-league club if injuries or other situations arise. It will also allow the team to develop prospects.

The Braves' Mike Foltynewicz pitched at CoolRay Field last season.
The Braves' Mike Foltynewicz pitched at CoolRay Field last season.

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Coolray Field will not be open to the public however, due to health and safety protocols.

“It’s obviously disappointing that we aren’t able to play a season this year at Coolray Field, but the health and safety of our fans, players, and staff is the number one priority of our organization,” said Stripers Vice President and General Manager Adam English. “While we may not have a Stripers season, we are still proud to host the return of baseball to Gwinnett with the Braves’ ‘Taxi Squad’ team, and to continue to work toward 2021.”

Stripers fans with questions about refunds, exchanges, or rolling their balance to the 2021 season can contact the team at striperstickets@braves.com or by calling 678-277-0300.