Sweets Cancel Season Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic
WALLA WALLA, Wash. - Originally expecting to travel to British Columbia to open their 2020 West Coast League season today, instead the Walla Walla Sweets unfortunately announce the cancelation of the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects felt across the Northwest.
"We are disappointed that there will not be Sweets baseball this summer," Sweets general manager Cody Miller said. "We did everything we could as an organization and with the West Coast League to hold a season this summer, but unfortunately there became too many restrictions where we couldn't provide our fans the experience at the ballpark that they have come to love and enjoy."
Simultaneously, league members Cowlitz, Port Angeles, Ridgefield and Yakima Valley also are canceling their seasons. Five other teams in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia cancelled their seasons earlier this spring.
The Sweets remain committed to Walla Walla and the community for 2021 and beyond and are already preparing for next summer. Miller also said he expects the return of former MLB All-Star Jeff Cirillo, the Sweets new manager, along with assistants Larry Price and Jarrod Molnaa.
"In this season of pandemic and social unrest, we all want baseball to remind us of the best things in life," Miller said. "The Sweets are committed to being on the field in 2021 and continue to believe that sports are a powerful force for equity and a sense of shared community in our region."
Despite the cancellation news, Miller is grateful to see the progress made in Walla Walla County by advancing to Phase 2 of Washington state's reopening plan and looks forward to having community events resume in Walla Walla this summer and fall.
"One thing this does allow us to do is get a head start on preparing for next season, and I can't wait to see everyone in Borleske a year from now," Miller said.
He also offered some additional news on pivoting to the 2021 season:
- In addition to the coaching staff, Miller expects many of the players from the 2020 roster to return for 2021.
- The Sweets will have a 32-game home schedule in 2021, up from 30 scheduled home games in 2020.
"Season ticket members with 2020 tickets will be able to roll over their tickets automatically to next year - and they'll receive tickets to two additional games at no additional charge," Miller said. Season ticket packages for new buyers will go on sale later this month, he added.
- The Sweets front office has already begun contacting ticket buyers and sponsors about the canceled season, and are providing options for moving purchases and sponsorship packages to next season.
The Sweets Shoppe downtown store has reopened to the public, with some restrictions in place. No more than three people in the store at a time, and masks are RECOMMENDED, but NOT REQUIRED.
- The WCL today announced the 2021 season will begin Friday, June 4, 2021. The Sweets are anticipated to open on the road, with the home opener tentatively slated for Friday, June 11, 2021.
- The 12 current teams in the WCL will be joined next year by an expansion team in Nanaimo, British Columbia, which joined the league earlier this spring.
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West Coast League Stories from June 5, 2020
- AppleSox 2020 Season Continues - Wenatchee AppleSox
- Pandemic Forces Cancellation of 2020 Pippins Season - Yakima Valley Pippins
- An Important Message About Our 2020 Season - Cowlitz Black Bears
- Sweets Cancel Season Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic - Walla Walla Sweets
- WCL Cancels 2020 Season - WCL
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Other Recent Walla Walla Sweets Stories
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- Sweets Cancel Season Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic
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- Connor Cirillo to Return Alongside Father, Manager Jeff