CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Yesterday, the Minor League Baseball season was cancelled which means no baseball for the Charlotte Knights, the Kannaoplis Cannon Ballers, and the Hickory Crawdads. And more than just baseball players will be hurt by this.
“To say it’s disappointing is an understatement,” said Charlotte Knights COO Dan Rajkowski. “It’s been challenging for the last 105 days.”
Rajkowski had to let go a third of his full time staff and yesterday’s news meant 400 part time jobs at Truist Field were going away as well.
2020 was set to be a big one at the home of the Knights, but the cancellation of the season was just another major gut punch in an already tough year.
They were set to host the ACC Baseball Tournament in May but that was cancelled. They were one of the venues that would host events for the Republican National Convention in August but now that is moving to Jacksonville. The stadium had a few concerts scheduled in the fall and once again, the pandemic has put a halt to that.
“These people that were working here are missing a lot of work, but we’re at the mercy of something that we have no idea how it’s going to go.”
There is baseball still being played at Truist Field. The Piedmont Pride of the Southern Collegiate Baseball League play at the stadium twice a week and fans are allowed to come in and watch the game on the concourse. Due to COVID-19 regulations, 125 fans are allowed in to watch the game and enjoy lunch or dinner. The stadium holds 10 thousand fans but no one is allowed to sit in the seating areas until the state of North Carolina gets into phase 3 of the reopening of the state. So while there is baseball, there is no way to make up for that lost revenue.
“Right now, it’s just a drop in the bucket,” said Rajkowski. “I’m just trying to keep the lights on. What it does is keeps our employees working in a time when we don’t have a lot of other things to do. The way I look at it, if we can write them a check and they can get a few dollars maybe that will help them get through the next couple of weeks.”
It’s hard to find the silver lining in all of this but Rajkowski found one today while chatting with the media as he looks forward to brighter days for the entire minor league baseball industry.
“If you look in the win/loss column, we are still tied for first place. So I’m going to keep that as something in the back of my mind as we go through the news of yesterday. I’m hopeful as Major League Baseball gets going, college football is right around the corner, the NFL is around the corner, that all these people will be able to figure it out. By next April, I hope all the answers will be done and we are just following the lead of others. Maybe that’s the silver lining in this thing.”