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West Michigan Whitecaps will not be playing in 2020

Minor League Baseball made the announcement Tuesday.

Minor League Baseball (MiLB) announced Tuesday that there will be not be a 2020 season. 

This comes a week after Major League Baseball (MLB) announced their players will be returning to camps on July 1. The 60-game schedule will start at the end of July, but games will be played with no spectators.

According to a statement from MiLB, MLB informed the organization that it would not be providing its affiliated Minor League teams with players for the 2020 season. 

"These are unprecedented times for our country and our organization as this is the first time in our history that we've had a summer without Minor League Baseball played," said MiLB President and CEO Pat O'Conner.

The West Michigan Whitecaps were originally scheduled to play 70 home games at Fifth Third Ballpark. After both MLB and MiLB spring training was suspended, Whitecaps front office staff began working remotely.

“West Michigan fans have been very good to us throughout the delay,” Joe Chamberlin, CEO of the West Michigan Whitecaps, said in a press release Wednesday. “They’ve been encouraging and patient. We love them and miss them. Moving forward, and in typical Whitecaps style, you can bet we will be working on helping the community and having some fun while we prepare for 2021. Our job now is to build a bridge to next baseball season.”

Watch live: Whitecaps press conference

Watch live: West Michigan Whitecaps to hold press conference about the season cancellation at 10 a.m. at Fifth Third Ballpark

Posted by 13 On Your Side on Wednesday, July 1, 2020

During the delay, the Whitecaps have stayed busy by supporting the United Way COVID-19 Community Response & Recovery Fund, and recently collaborated with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Grand Rapids Drive and the West Michigan Sports Commission for “One Team For West Michigan” to help the community with pandemic.

New Whitecaps manager Brayan Pena has been reading to children online and joining in on educational online children’s events. 

“There is a lot of work ahead of us,” Chamberlin added. “But since none of us, including our fans, have never been in this space, we’re moving ahead with cautious optimism. This will be the first West Michigan summer without Whitecaps Baseball in the last 26 years."

"It is tough to see that streak come to an end, temporarily, but we are already looking forward to what the 2021 season will have in store.  I can promise you we will be ready for baseball and we know our fans and this community will be as well.”

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