The Walla Walla Sweets announced on Friday the cancellation of their 2020 West Coast League season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are disappointed that there will not be Sweets baseball this summer,” Sweets general manager Cody Miller said in a release. “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.”
The decision was made in conjunction with the WCL as Cowlitz, Port Angeles, Ridgefield and Yakima Valley also announced cancellation of their seasons.
Five other WCL teams canceled their seasons earlier this spring.
“It’s unfortunately what we’re dealing with this year,” Miller told the U-B on Friday. “I can’t wait until opening day next year.”
Miller said he’s been in touch with the coaching staff set to lead the Sweets this season, including manager Jeff Cirillo, and they all indicated an interest in returning for the 2021 season.
The coaching staff has also reached out to players set to play in Walla Walla this season, and depending on eligibility they’ll be welcomed back next year, Miller said.
Miller also emphasized that tickets purchased for this season will be good for next season, and season tickets for next season will go on sale later this month.
“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,” he said.
The cancellation of the season on Friday came on the scheduled opening day for the Sweets.
In early May, the WCL season was pushed back to an estimated start of early July before the decision to cancel the season was made.
“In this season of pandemic and social unrest, we all want baseball to remind us of the best things in life,” Miller said in the release. “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.
“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.”
Also, Miller said the Sweets will have a 32-game home schedule in 2021, up from 30 scheduled home games in 2020.
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 no more than three people allowed in the store at a time, and masks are recommended but not required.
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.