RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With the 2020 Minor League Baseball (MiLB) season officially canceled, you have to go back to 2009 to find the last time there wasn’t a season at The Diamond.
That was the year after the Richmond Braves left town and before the Richmond Flying Squirrels landed in the capital city.
So with no MiLB season for the first time since 1901, teams like the Flying Squirrels are feeling the impact.
“We’re a small business. Small businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 tremendously,” said Flying Squirrels CEO Todd “Parney” Parnell.
Financially the organization will take a hit without being able to have their usual 70-game season. But the impact stretches beyond revenue because of how involved the Richmond community is with the Flying Squirrels.
People behind the scenes and throughout Central Virginia will also feel the absence of baseball.
“Our full-time staff, those numbers are down from where they were in March,” added Parnell. “Our part-time employees that normally work our 70 home games have worked zero home games, so there’s an impact. Our partners that are also our vendors.”
The Flying Squirrels are only one of more than 150 Minor League Baseball teams and each consist of players hoping to play Major League Baseball, like Aaron McGarity.
McGarity, a pitcher in the New York Yankees organization, played at Mills Godwin High School and was a 2017 draft pick out of Virginia Tech. His 2019 season consisted of playing for the Staten Island Yankees, Charleston RiverDogs and Tampa Tarpons before participating in the Arizona Fall League.
“I was excited coming off a good year,” said McGarity.
But now there are no games to be played.
“Everyone’s got to go through tough times. It’s the way you handle this adversity. How you get out on the other side is what really matters,” added McGarity.
Which is why less than 24 hours after the MiLB announcement McGarity was continuing his workouts in Henrico County, focused on staying ready just in case the Yankees come calling.
“The mentality is kind of an in-season mentality because I don’t know if my name’s going to get called,” said McGarity. “Because God forbid somebody gets hurt or gets sick.”