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Harvey Weinstein victims were awarded $19 million in compensation fund Thousands of Your Favorite Fast Food Locations Could Close Opinion: Minor League Baseballs canceled 2020 season a cruel blow in grim 2020 sports year

For all the sacrifices and deferred dreams the novel coronavirus forced upon the sports world, many are paired with some solace, knowing that there will be a next year.

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  • Minor League Baseball cancels 2020 season due to COVID-19 Minor League Baseball announced Tuesday it canceled its 2020 season due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, impacting teams in Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto. Major League Baseball told MiLB that it could not supply players to AAA teams because the pandemic was also impacting MLB’s lineup. Get the full story in the video above. KCRA Sacramento
  • Minor League Baseball 2020 season canceled amid COVID-19 pandemic The Fresno Grizzlies furloughed most of the organizations staff on June 1 due to the uncertainty of a MiLB season happening, reducing the staff by 75% ABC 30 Fresno
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One sector, from top to bottom, doesn’t have that luxury.

The long-anticipated announcement Tuesday that Minor League Baseball’s 2020 season will be canceled is a blow to thousands of minor leaguers who just saw the thankless, debt-inducing, harrowing road to the majors sidetracked, perhaps permanently.

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It is a gut punch to the staffers still remaining at the 160 affiliated minor-league clubs who have held on through furloughs and pay cuts and added even more creative duties to their usual titles in the name of keeping their jobs. With an entire calendar year of virtually no revenue, many more will lose their jobs.

© Alonzo Adams, USA TODAY NETWORK Ticket windows at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark will be closed this season after the entire minor league season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The park is home to the Los Angeles Dodgers' Class AAA team, the Oklahoma City Dodgers.

And -- because what’s a pandemic in our country without a little opportunism? -- it may represent a death knell for dozens of franchises that Major League Baseball placed on a chopping block in the service of shaving a few nickels and creating more efficiency, long-term growth of the game be damned.

pic.twitter.com/XEDFmfHTmI

— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) June 30, 2020

With the Pro Baseball Agreement between Major and Minor League Baseball set to expire this year, MLB last autumn identified a group of affiliated clubs that could be targeted for contraction, in the name of making the player-development process more uniform.

Fewer teams, better facilities, fewer ballplayers. And also a lot less baseball.

It is a page from what we’ll call the Creeping Astros-ization of the game, where the once-trailblazing and now ethically dubious franchise’s innovations have no end. Player development is more refined, the theory goes, and thus fringe prospects are more quickly disposed of, and then there’s far fewer players who will receive that prized $400 weekly paycheck.

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It’s not hard to imagine the nods of approval among MLB’s 30 owners, and thus commissioner Rob Manfred’s initial forays to negotiate a new PBA reportedly included up to 40 teams possibly contracted, some with historical ties as significant as Jackie Robinson and others with stadium renovations so new that their towns are still paying them off.

It was already grim and cynical enough. And then the coronavirus arrived.

Suddenly, MLB’s dirty work might instead be done for it, with the big league season postponed – and still in significant doubt – and no infrastructure to safely stage a minor-league season.

The damage will be immediate for the aforementioned franchises -- "We are in dire straits," Minor League Baseball CEO Pat O'Conner said on a Tuesday conference call -- and long-lasting for those that survive. And from a player’s perspective, how, exactly, does one quantify the damage done by a lost year of development?

You can’t.

Hundreds of players have already been released, many that probably would have been released after spring training, anyway. Others will get a reprieve in the form of a 2020 draft shortened to five rounds, which will create a backlog of talent in the amateur levels as almost every elite high schooler will opt for college rather than a diminished signing bonus.

But that stay of execution is partially cancelled out by the likelihood there are fewer affiliated teams and, thus, fewer jobs in 2021.

Certainly, the greatest prospects will retain their skills, and as Mets special assistant Omar Minaya noted Tuesday, “Good players, they figure it out.”

Fair enough. And in this era of wearable technology and Trackman and Rapsodo and Edgertronic devices, players have and will continue to get their work in.

But the 2020 That Never Was will certainly haunt hundreds of players. Sure, many of them never would have made the big leagues anyway. Since this game was invented, those that never make The Show will always wonder what they might have done better to get there. Springsteen might have written a song or two about this.

This group, though, will have the added burden of the unknowable. What if?

Every player who makes the majors has that year they figured it out, be it high draft picks with every chance to fail, or marginal prospects who must produce or greet the real world sooner than they like. An app or a machine or video review can only go so far; eventually, those experiments must be tested and peer-reviewed over 100-plus games by pitchers trying to strike you out, or hitters ready to feast on your most vulnerable offering.

In 2020, the lab never opened, a particularly cruel twist for the hundreds of players who greet every day with the firm conviction that This Will Be My Year.

These nearly four months in semi-quarantine have been a paradox: Seemingly never-ending, yet with constant reminders that the things we hold dearest are finite.  It’s particularly painful for athletes of all ages. Perhaps no moreso than for those traveling the longest road to glory in North American sports – up to six levels of the minor leagues, with lots of good fortune necessary to see it through to those stadiums with multiple decks and bright lights.

There was precious little good fortune in 2020, a year that will end the baseball livelihoods of so many, even if some may not know it yet. There is dignity in failing, but a unique cruelty to never having the chance to do so.

Follow Gabe Lacques on Twitter @GabeLacques

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: Minor League Baseball's canceled 2020 season a cruel blow in grim 2020 sports year


Video: Coronavirus sacrifices ‘squandered’ as infections reach critical levels in South, West (MSNBC)

Click to expand Replay Video UP NEXT
  • Minor League Baseball cancels 2020 season due to COVID-19 Minor League Baseball announced Tuesday it canceled its 2020 season due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, impacting teams in Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto. Major League Baseball told MiLB that it could not supply players to AAA teams because the pandemic was also impacting MLB’s lineup. Get the full story in the video above. KCRA Sacramento
  • Minor League Baseball 2020 season canceled amid COVID-19 pandemic The Fresno Grizzlies furloughed most of the organizations staff on June 1 due to the uncertainty of a MiLB season happening, reducing the staff by 75% ABC 30 Fresno
  • Atlanta mayor on voter suppression: Georgia Sec. of State refuses to accept reality Mayor Bottoms of Atlanta: “The reality is we have a Secretary of State who refuses to accept that voter suppression is real, and that it comes in different forms.” MSNBC
1 Cancel SETTINGS OFF HD HQ SD LO Skip Ad Coronavirus sacrifices ‘squandered’ as infections reach critical levels in South, West MSNBC See more videos SHARE SHARE TWEET SHARE EMAIL What to watch next
  • Coronavirus sacrifices ‘squandered’ as infections reach critical levels in South, West MSNBC 5:03
  • Minor League Baseball cancels 2020 season due to COVID-19 KCRA Sacramento 1:57
  • Minor League Baseball 2020 season canceled amid COVID-19 pandemic ABC 30 Fresno 1:23
  • Atlanta mayor on voter suppression: Georgia Sec. of State refuses to accept reality MSNBC 1:33
  • 3 years after Harvey: Changes lead to delay in rebuilding of Betzabe Gomez's family home KHOU-TV Houston 0:46
  • Indians' season canceled but team is exploring hosting new events at Victory Field Indianapolis Star 1:37
  • Minor League baseball canceled; what's next for the Timber Rattlers? WGBA Green Bay, WI 1:38
  • Richmond Flying Squirrels, minor league baseball season officially canceled WTVR Richmond, VA 1:20
  • Major League Baseball in Nashville? p5 WTVF Nashville, TN 0:22
  • Major League Baseball in Nashville? p4 WTVF Nashville, TN 4:27
  • Major League Baseball in Nashville? p3 WTVF Nashville, TN 10:25
  • Major League Baseball in Nashville? p1 WTVF Nashville, TN 11:37
  • Tipping their caps: paying homage to the Negro Baseball League on their 100th anniversary USA TODAY 1:31
  • Businesses navigate mask mandate enforcement without denying customers KSHB Kansas City, MO 1:54
  • Bear sightings reported in Garner, Clayton: Here's what to do if you see one ABC 11 Raleigh NC 1:44
  • Watch: MLB's No. 1 prospect Wander Franco crushes first High-A home run Naples Daily News 0:46
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Woman given life for plot to blow up St. Pauls Cathedral

LONDON (AP) —

A woman was jailed for life, with a minimum sentence of 14 years, on Friday for plotting to blow up London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, a nearby hotel and a subway train in a suicide attack.

Safiyya Shaikh, 37, extensively researched how to cause maximum carnage at the historic church and visitor attraction. Police said she had planned to leave a bomb in a bag at the cathedral before detonating a suicide vest on a London Underground train.

Her defense lawyers said she had doubts about the plot, but prosecutors disclosed details of a call she made to a friend from prison last week in which she said she “didn’t get cold feet” and “was ready to go through with it.”

The Muslim convert, who was a supporter of the Islamic State group, pleaded guilty to creating a terrorist act and dissemination of a terrorist publication.

Shaikh, born Michelle Ramsden, was arrested in October after she sought help from an undercover officer who posed as a bomb-making expert.

“She engaged with others, who she believed to be of a similar mindset, to instigate and plan a terrorist attack involving the use of improvised explosives to attack St Paul’s Cathedral and a hotel nearby,” prosecutor Alison Morgan said. “She visited the cathedral to assess its security arrangements and the best place to detonate a bomb.”

“She stated that her intention was to kill herself and as many other people as possible,” she added.

Police said Shaikh was also heavily involved in extremist propaganda posts online and inspiring others to fight.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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