The 2020 Minor League Baseball season being cancelled has felt inevitable for a long time. With these being such confusing and uneasy times, a cancelled season does not feel un-ordinary. However, I still think there is a very important point to be made.
I grew up 30 minutes from the Norwich Navigators, a Double A affiliate for the Yankees and Giants. As an individual whose life has so profoundly been shaped, influenced, and guided by the game of baseball, my love letter with the sport began as a 3 year old fan at Dodd Stadium. It was the intimate atmosphere of a local stadium and the personal interactions with players (heroes in my eyes) that fueled my passion… and both the practicality and affordability of the experience that allowed that passion to burn.
Of course, I always dreamed of Fenway Park and Red Sox vs. Yankees and legendary baseball icons. But they did not foster my identity with baseball the way the Norwich Navigators did. As the MiLB season is skipped in 2020 and moves on to a 2021 that will see a shorter draft of prospects, a probable cut of ~40 minor league teams, and the inevitable effects both these factors and a global pandemic are bound to have, I think it is critical to keep in perspective stories like mine, and countless other boys and girls whose love for the sport was first cultivated in the seats of Minor League bleachers, with a ball signed by idols and a picture with their favorite mascot.
There is nothing more imperative than to marinate in the idea that growth, development and prosperity cannot be achieved when emphasizing from the top-down. If Major League Baseball fails to look beyond short-sighted profits and invest in the roots of what makes baseball the best game in the world, I fear the potential for the growth of our sport will be lost. A chair with 2 legs is a broken chair, and as is the ultimate beauty of baseball, it mirrors so vividly the patterns, triumphs, and tribulations of real life.