Throughout the spring and first week of summer, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs had kept their hopes alive that eventually an abbreviated season would get under way. But on Tuesday afternoon, the Blue Crabs and two other Atlantic League teams announced they would not be playing any games this summer.
In light of playing a 70-game schedule this summer, the Blue Crabs announced that they would shift their focus to hosting a "Community Showcase Summer" with additional youth baseball camps, movie nights on the field, all-you-can-eat beer and wings nights, crab feasts and other outings.
Baseball, however, will not be played this summer, including the Atlantic League All-Star game that Southern Maryland was scheduled to host on July 15 at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf but will now take place on July 14, 2021.
"We have worked so hard to find a safe way to hold a 2020 baseball season, but COVID-19 has made that impossible," said Blue Crabs general manager Courtney Knichel in a Tuesday news release announcing the team canceling its season. "Despite not playing Blue Crabs baseball, we will continue to unite Southern Maryland as your hometown team and will not allow this pandemic to tear us apart. We vow to work even harder to bring our community together at all costs."
Later Tuesday, Knichel said to Southern Maryland Newspapers: "It deeply saddens the entire organization that the Blue Crabs won't play baseball this season, but we're not going to let that strip us from our role in this community, which is to bring people together. We will host a variety of events while taking the necessary COVID-19 safety precautions, and we will continue to be Southern Maryland's hometown team. In 2021, we'll come back better than ever, and we will emerge from this pandemic a stronger Southern Maryland."
Southern Maryland manager Stan Cliburn had remained busy throughout the spring, signing players for the 2020 season and had a full roster set. But despite his continued optimism that an abbreviated season would eventually transpire, Cliburn lamented that he would not be in uniform for the first time in nearly 50 years.
"One week ago, it looked like we had a chance to have a season," Cliburn said on Tuesday. "But then some teams started to drop out and by today we couldn't have a season, but we'll get through this and then be back next spring. I'm hoping to keep most of the guys that we signed and then next year we'll have the chance to host the All-Star Game."
Also on Tuesday afternoon, two other Atlantic League teams, the Long Island Ducks and the High Point Rockers, also formally announced that they would also not be participating in an abbreviated 2020 season.
"We tried everything in our power to start the season despite the pandemic and all the challenges it presented," said Ducks CEO and founder Frank Boulton said in a Tuesday news release posted on liducks.com. "We presented a safety plan detailing the protocols we would follow to provide the safest way for Long Islanders to enjoy a night out. Without fans, we cannot move forward in 2020. At this time, we have not gained approval from New York State to open our gates to fans. We are disappointed that this is the result, but we look forward to seeing everyone at the ballpark in 2021."
"The entire Rockers organization has worked tirelessly to provide a season of professional baseball at Truist Point this summer," said Rockers team president Pete Fisch in a news release posted Tuesday on highpointrockers.com. "After reviewing the options and the risks, the right decision was to not play this year. It is disappointing but our concerns for player, fan and staff safety outweigh the potential benefits."