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Minor League Baseball Teams Could Get COVID Relief After Year Off

Joe Amon
Connecticut Public
The Hartford Yard Goats weren't able to play baseball at Dunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the club may be compensated up to $15 million by the federal government.

Minor League Baseball clubs like the Hartford Yard Goats may soon benefit from a congressional effort to provide coronavirus relief.

Affiliated, independently owned clubs like the Yard Goats could get up to $15 million each from the federal government under the Saving Minor League Baseball Act.

The Yard Goats say the lost 2020 season resulted in a loss of ballpark ticket, sponsorship and merchandise sales.

“It would allow us to build back our programs that had to go on hiatus last season, as well as bringing back the remainder of our staff so that we can serve the community with the programs we’ve become well-known for,” Yard Goats owner Josh Solomon said about the potential new legislation that could support his baseball club.

Solomon and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) addressed reporters on Monday from Dunkin’ Donuts Park -- the home of the Yard Goats. Blumenthal introduced the measure he says has bipartisan support: It’s co-sponsored by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

“Baseball is America and we ought to be helping Minor League Baseball at this time of existential challenge,” Blumenthal said.

He wants the proposal included in any potential addition to the infrastructure package that’s being negotiated.

“Major League baseball gets revenue from TV. That’s one of the big economic distinctions,” Blumenthal said as he described the financial need of minor league owners. “Here, they have concessions -- they have all kinds of sales in the park. When the park is closed, no revenue.”

Despite no longer being affiliated with a Major League Baseball club, the Norwich Sea Unicorns also would be eligible for this coronavirus relief. That’s because they didn’t lose affiliation until after the February 2020 cut-off date.

Frankie Graziano is the host of The Wheelhouse, focusing on how local and national politics impact the people of Connecticut.

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