Delmarva Shorebirds Will Not Play Ball This Summer

SALISBURY — The Delmarva Shorebirds will not have a summer season for the first time in 25 years after it was announced this week minor league baseball was being shelved due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball (MLB) informed Minor League Baseball (MiLB) it will not be providing its affiliated teams with players for the 2020 season. As a result, there will not be a season for MiLB teams all over the country this summer including the Delmarva Shorebirds, who were set to open their 25th anniversary season in Salisbury this year.

The Shorebirds are a Class A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles and play their home games at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury. Major League Baseball teams including the Orioles this week began preparing for a short 60-game season expected to begin later this month. MiLB President and CEO Pat O’Conner made the announcement on Tuesday.

“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,” he said. “While this is a sad day for many, this announcement removes the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and allows our teams to begin planning for an exciting 2021 season of affordable family entertainment.”

Minor League Baseball, which began as the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, was founded in September 1901 and has played summer seasons every year since, including during two world wars and other national disasters. This year, however, it was put on the shelf by the ongoing COVID-19 situation out of an abundance of caution for players, coaches, staffers and fans.

While not entirely unexpected, given the uncertainties surrounding major league baseball for 2020 even as recently as a week or so ago, the news the Shorebirds season was met with disappointment for the local Orioles affiliate, the management and the fans.

“We are disappointed that the 2020 season will not be played, but we remain committed to providing a first-class atmosphere while ensuring people’s safety and health when visiting with us,” said Shorebirds General Manager Chris Bitters. “As always, we will continue to support our community during this challenging time and look forward to having Shorebirds baseball back at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in 2021.”

Bitters said the Shorebirds would reach out to 2020 partners including season ticket holders, groups, silver sluggers, individual game ticket holders, staff and fans in separate communications about the plans going forward and information about their accounts with the Shorebirds. Bitters also said Arthur W. Perdue Stadium will not remain entirely dark for the remainder of the summer and going forward.

“Even though we are not able to play Shorebirds baseball here in 2020, we are still devoted to providing Delmarva with a fun, family atmosphere within the proper health guidelines,” said Bitters. “It is our goal to transition the stadium into a community entertainment center in the meantime while we will continue to plan for making the 2021 season and the years to come some of our best years yet.”

Adhering to all of the guidelines and protocols associated with stemming the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Shorebirds are currently planning numerous events at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium that will serve as fun, family entertainment for residents of Delmarva and its visitors.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.