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Peoria Chiefs react to the ‘season that never was’

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CHIEFS

PEORIA (HOI) -- It was something of a foregone conclusion. When Major League Baseball announced its intentions for their upcoming season, it all but spelled the end to for Minor League Baseball's (MiLB) season.

On Tuesday MiLB did just that, announcing the cancellation of their 2020 season.

"It was something we've known for a while," said Peoria Chiefs General Manager, Jason Mott.

Ever since the coronavirus hit and leagues began postponing or delaying seasons, baseball had been on the clock. Then they elected to delay the season.

In a late May interview, Mott told Heart of Illinois ABC that minor league teams were still in the dark, regarding MLB's plans.

Now the light is shining, but on a lost season for the St. Louis Cardinals affiliate team.

"It was a sad day to kind of think about the season that never was," continued Mott.

Now, after furloughs, all that remains for the Chiefs are three full time employees.

"There's a lot of decisions to be made. You're probably going to have to end up looking at this as a restart of an organization," explained Mott.

He thinks the organization will need two years to fully recover, expecting to see that happen in 2020.

Some of the things that can help keep them afloat until the 2021 season are other events hosted at Dozer Park.

"Really crossing our fingers on high school football. We've got two [Peoria] Notre Dame games this year planned in October, and we're gonna look at other things. We've had conversations about tournaments, we've talked about movies at the ballpark, it's something we can truly operate with three people," explained Mott.

Another challenging part is all of the young players that could be losing a year of development. While the more high profile prospects might find themselves on the Cardinals taxi squad, the lower level prospects face a much more difficult reality.

"A lot of those guys are sitting at home and we were excited to have them here. That was the first thing I thought of yesterday, was all the minor leaguers who are going to be without a job for at least another year," said Mott.

The Chiefs season was supposed to start on April 13. Mott says the part that hurts the most is not being able to entertain the people in central Illinois,

"We're part of the landscape here and we're part of the community, and that's what we truly appreciate. It's unfortunate we can't provide that entertainment that people enjoy and get a chance to do it this year, but we'll bounce back."

Chiefs staff say they will be handling all ticket purchases and other matters with fans over the course of the next few months.

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Holden Krusemark

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