For the first time since 1901, Minor League Baseball will not have a season this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. It's looking more and more like a handful of teams won't make it to 2021.
MiLB president Pat O'Conner stated that the organization would have a hard time predicting the future of Minor League Baseball because everything is deeply uncertain. O'Conner warned that half—or possibly more than half—of all minor league baseball teams might sell or fold entirely.
"It's north of half who could either have to sell (or go insolvent without government or other help). This is the perfect storm. There are many teams that are not liquid, not solvent," O'Conner said. On the virus's economic impact on the sport, he continued, "I could see this lingering into 2022, 2023 easily. In some cases, probably a little longer.
Minor League Baseball reportedly discussed contracted 42 teams the winter before the coronavirus struck. However, the unfortunate addition of COVID-19 on top of an already murky future for Minor League Baseball means that the sport is in danger.
"Teams across the country are going 18 months straight without a steady revenue stream," said Chris Phillips, president of the Colorado Rockies' affiliate Rocky Mountain Vibes. "That's brutal, and in addition to potential contraction, you're going to see a number of teams who wind up folding because they weren't able to make it financially."