A summer baseball league with teams scattered throughout the corn belt, including two in Indiana, has canceled the 2020 season. The Prospect League on Friday announced it was calling off the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league, comprised of college players, has two teams in Indiana, including the Terre Haute REX and the Lafayette Aviators.
The decision was based on a variety of federal and state guidelines for safety, protection and limits on public gatherings and travel across the five states that are home to Prospect League teams.
“The Prospect League is not alone in the baseball world in the difficult decision that we had to make,” said Prospect League Commissioner Dennis Bastien. “As we hung on to hope for a shortened season, the reality of our responsibility to the teams of people who make our season possible could not be met in the manner we felt necessary.”
The Lafayette Aviators were originally scheduled to play their home games at Purdue University this summer while a new field is being constructed. But when the school announced campus restrictions for the month of July, the Prospect League granted the team a waiver for the 2020 season.
The Aviators are expecting to resume play for the 2021 season.
The state’s other Prospect League team, the REX, play at Sycamore Stadium on the campus of Indiana State University.
There is still no word on whether Minor League Baseball will have a season. There are more than 160 teams affiliated with Major League Baseball, including three in Indiana: the Indianapolis Indians, the Fort Wayne TipCaps and the South Bend Cubs.
MLB remains in negotiations with the Major League Baseball Players Association. Published reports say until the MLB season is decided, MiLB remains in limbo.
For the Prospect League, it has already been decided and being felt.
“It is a heartbreaking time for team owners as they feel the weight of this loss for their players, their fans and their communities,” said Bastien. “This was an exceptionally difficult decision made in an unprecedented time.”