By: Arielle Gordon
The Valley League was the first to fall.
On April 2, the Valley League released a statement announcing the cancellation of the 2020 summer season.
Based in Virginia, which is under a “Stay at Home” order until June 10, the Valley League was unlikely to start their season until after then, even if the order was lifted on time. By that point, they would have already lost out on close to half of their scheduled games.
“I reached out to every member of the league, all 11 teams, and everybody was in 100% agreement that we should move forward with canceling the entire season,” Commissioner C. Bruce Alger said. “With 400 players coming in, we thought the risk was too great and we didn’t want to take any chances.”
All 400 players who had signed up to play in the Valley League this summer have had their player fees refunded and their contracts ended. This will free them up to be able to join another league that may be able to play this summer.
The league was able to cancel their bat and ball orders for this season and had yet to order uniforms or caps. Their liability insurance will be refunded.
Alger does not anticipate financial hardship for any teams stemming from the lost season. “I think we’re fine,” Alger said. “Everybody is on pretty stable ground.”
Additionally, the league will not be taking any money from sponsors this season and Alger did not want a business that has been closed or under reduced operations to be putting money towards a season that wouldn’t happen.
“We thought the sponsorship money from the places we normally go to could be better used to maybe give their employees more hours or help them financially with their business,” Alger said.
The Valley League is already looking forward to the 2021 season and is likely to retain many of the coaches who were signed to coach this summer. Those decisions, along with any changes that stem from revised NCAA eligibility or MLB led changes will have to be decided later.
“We are going to come back bigger, better, and stronger than ever before,” Alger said. “It really broke our hearts to have to do this, but in the best interest of public health and safety, it was the right thing to do for us to help do anything we can to stop this pandemic from spreading any further.”