NILES — The Mahoning Valley Scrappers confirmed today that the New York-Penn League has postponed the start of the 2020 season indefinitely.
It's possible there will be no Minor League Baseball this summer because of the coronavirus pandemic. It's also possible the Scrappers will never play again. Last fall, Major League Baseball announced a cost-cutting plan to eliminate 42 minor-league ballclubs, including the Scrappers, after the 2020 season.
The Scrappers were scheduled to begin their 22nd season on Thursday (June 18) with a road game at West Virginia. The home opener at Eastwood Field was scheduled for June 24 against Auburn.
"As always, the health and safety of the NYPL fans, players and staff members is our top priority," the NYPL posted on its website. "The League and its clubs will continue to monitor the situation and work with our Major League Baseball affiliates, while following the recommendations of public health officials and adhering to local reopening guidelines."
In their past 21 seasons, the Scrappers traditionally began play in mid-June as a Class A short-season affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The NYPL season wraps around Labor Day.
Major League Baseball has not announced confirmed plans for a 2020 season. Its minor-league teams are on hold until an agreement is reached between MLB and the MLB Players Association.
For the team's 21 seasons in the NYPL, the Indians paid for the Scrappers' players, coaches and training staff. If the connection to the Indians is severed, the Scrappers' future is in jeopardy.
The NYPL also announced that this year's All-Star Game has been canceled.