On Tuesday, the MLB announced it would not provide its affiliated Minor League teams with players for this year.
The decision effectively cancels the 2020 season for all 160 minor league baseball teams, including the Fresno Grizzlies.
MLB is preparing for a very short 60-game season using expanded 40-man rosters (60-man during training), leaving few players that can be assigned to minor league teams.
"Sports are important always for communities, especially now because people just want to get back to normal," said Grizzlies owner Derek Franks after the announcement.
Tuesday's announcement directly affects Valley teams including the Fresno Grizzlies and Visalia Rawhide.
Statement from the @VisaliaRawhide reads "The Visalia Rawhide will now look towards plans for the 2021 season, where the 2019 Championship will be celebrated as well as the 75th Anniversary of Minor League Baseball in Visalia." @ABC30— Stephen Hicks (@StephenABC30) June 30, 2020
"There's nothing about minor league baseball, nothing about why we love minor league baseball that translates to a situation where there's no fans," said Visalia Rawhide owner Sam Sigal.
And no fans also translates to no foot traffic impacting local businesses who rely on that revenue.
"Tioga Sequoia, our beer garden, has always been one of the pre-game spots for Grizzlies games, even post-game spots. But just in the last five years, it's just been synonymous with baseball downtown," said Tioga Sequoia Brewery Company President Michael Cruz.
The move affects not just players but also stadium service workers. Both teams have made cuts, furloughing roughly two-thirds of their staff.
"There are hundreds of other food service staff and ushers and ticket-takers and all the friendly faces you see around the ballpark that never even got a chance to come back," said Franks.
It will now be 18 months between the Grizzlies' last game of the 2019 season and their first game of the 2021 season.
The team has scheduled some concerts and other events with promoters that they were hoping to put on for later this year. But the uncertainty of when California might get to phase 4 of re-opening leaves those in question as well.
Now, the Grizzlies Management is considering offering 2020 season ticket holders some incentives for the 2021 season.