‘This takes the cake': Knights disappointed after Minor League Baseball cancels season

Knights disappointed after Minor League Baseball cancels season

CHARLOTTE — The 2020 Minor League Baseball season was canceled Tuesday afternoon because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Officials with the Charlotte Knights said after the decision that they are extremely disappointed because how it will impact fans and employees.

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Charlotte Knights statement:

“This afternoon, the cancellation of the 2020 Minor League season was announced. We are extremely disappointed in this result for all of the fans, partners, and community stakeholders with the Charlotte Knights,” the team said in a news release.

“The effects of the pandemic have been felt by all who play a part in producing the memorable experiences of Knights baseball games.

“From the players, coaches, and support staff who perform on the field to those that work in the concourses, concession stands, and front office, it takes several hundred people per game to help provide the enjoyable escape during the spring and summer. We ask that our community keep them in mind in the absence of this season. To assist the game day, front office, and non-profit partners of the Knights affected by COVID-19, please consider a contribution to our Knights Care 4 CLT effort.”

Baseball returns to uptown; Charlotte Knights not playing yet

The cancelation also means no baseball this year for the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers.

“I’m just trying to keep the lights on,” Knights Chief Operations Officer Dan Rajkowksi told Channel 9.

Rajkowski said he had already laid off a third of his staff before Minor League Baseball canceled the 2020 season. He doesn’t expect more layoffs to his full-time staff, but now more than 400 part-time employees are out of work.

“You know, I’ve been in this 35 years,” he said. “You get a lot of challenges. I’ve seen a lot of things, from hurricanes to tropical storms and 9/11 and everything else. This one takes the cake.”

The Knights are a seasonal business but Rajkowski said the economic hit they’re navigating right now goes beyond baseball.

“The RNC, which we were one of the Sweet 16 venues with a significant number of bookings that moved. We had concerts planned in the fall. So this was more widespread than just Knights baseball,” he said.

There is baseball being played in uptown: a collegiate wooden bat league. And restaurants are serving food to a limited number of people, following strict guidelines. But Rajkowski said that’s just a drop in the bucket.

“It doesn’t make an impact at all on what we would have to do to pay for this building,” he said.

The hope is that unique events like disc golf at the ballpark, in addition to North Carolina entering Phase Three, will provide fans fun and the Knights some financial relief.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Rajkowski told Channel 9. “Let’s hope that next March and April we’re playing baseball.”