Cannon Ballers share disappointment of official word on no minor league games this year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 1, 2020

KANNAPOLIS — Minor league baseball teams were advised Tuesday that Major League Baseball has decided not to provide players to their minor league affiliates to enable a shortened 2020 season.  As a result, there will be no minor league baseball this year.

“This is a very disappointing development, but one that we have been preparing for since the COVID numbers have increased in our state over the last few weeks,” said Kannapolis Cannon Ballers General Manager Matt Millward.

The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the minor league governing body, made the long-expected 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.

Team owner Andy Sandler said they still want to host baseball games consistent with health and safety guidance. The team has been in talks with officials of local player leagues at all levels of play. State and city officials will have to decide when it is safe to host games and other events.

“We will follow government guidance on when we can have fans attend games and what precautions we should take such as social distancing and masks,” Sandler said.

The team has opened the gates to the public to use Atrium Health Ballpark as a city park and walking facility.

“While it is very disappointing to not have the Cannon Ballers play this season, the health of our fans is our top priority. From the beginning we wanted the ballpark to be a ‘public park’ and used every day,” Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant said. “We are glad people are out enjoying it. Seeing so many people using the stadium to walk around, safely meet up with friends, and even grab an affordable sandwich has been gratifying.”

The ballpark, which has a seating capacity of 4,930 with 3,218 of those being fixed seats, is open daily for the public to use from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and food is available from noon-7 p.m. from Boomer’s Bistro, the concession stand on the third base concourse. An expanded menu and drink service is available Thursday and Friday starting at 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday starting at noon.

“We have an incredible ballpark and we hope that the public will visit, take a walk around the concourse, and enjoy Boomer’s Bistro.  We will be ready to celebrate baseball more than ever in 2021,” Eddie Smith, Kannapolis Deputy City Manager and Ballpark Project Manager, said.

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