Historic Centennial Field won’t be lighting up the night as planned this year.
In an announcement that seemed all but inevitable with its season set to begin in less than a week, the New York-Penn League, home of the Vermont Lake Monsters, said Friday evening that its 2020 campaign would be “delayed indefinitely.”
The Lake Monsters, the Single-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, had been scheduled to open their summer with a six-game homestand beginning June 18. Their 76-game regular season would’ve concluded Sept. 7.
In a brief statement posted on its website, the NY-Penn League said:
“Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the start of the 2020 New York-Penn League season is being delayed indefinitely. 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. As always, the health and safety of the New York-Penn League fans, players and staff members are our top priorities.”
The league has also preemptively canceled its annual all-star game, which was slated for Aug. 18 in Lowell, Mass.
The announcement, one of several made by minor leagues around the country, came the same week as the truncated, five-round 2020 MLB Draft — the event had previously featured 40 rounds of picks — and during a moment of upheaval within the sport.
Vermont has been among the franchises whose future was brought into question last winter with an MLB proposal to shutter 40 minor league teams as a cost-saving measure. And most recently, labor negotiations between the players’ union and team owners have fractured professional baseball as they try to work out what form a pandemic-shortened season will take.
The Lake Monsters went 33-42 in 2019 to finish third in the NYPL’s Stedler Division. This season would’ve been the franchise’s 27th.
Since signing a 20-year lease of Centennial Field with the University of Vermont in 2012, the team has invested roughly $2 million in the facility to upgrade the 114-year-old venue.
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