CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – West Virginia’s finish to the inaugural MLB Draft League season will read something like this:
Aug. 6, Canceled: health & safety. Aug. 7, Canceled: health & safety. Aug. 8, Canceled: health & safety. Aug. 10, 7-5 L. Aug. 11, Canceled: rain. Aug. 12, Canceled: health & safety. Aug. 13, Canceled: health & safety.
That’s six games canceled, five due to health & safety protocols and contact tracing. And one loss.
It’s a sour, sour way to finish any season, especially the first in a new league that’s trying to get off the ground.
But it’s the reality for the West Virginia Black Bears, who not long ago were looking like they were going to run away with the MLB Draft League championship.
“Of course, it was a disappointment that that’s how the inaugural season of the Black Bears and the Major League Baseball Draft League had to come to an end, but player safety comes first. Health and safety comes first,” said Black Bears general manager, Matthew Drayer. “
West Virginia found out about its final cancellation of the season Friday morning.
According to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, additional testing and contact tracing efforts are needed for both teams.
Friday’s cancellation comes exactly one week after the Black Bears’ first cancellation of the year due to health & safety measures. That cancellation also came against Mahoning Valley.
There will be no playoffs for the league this year, according to league president Kerrick Jackson.
Due to the string of cancellations, West Virginia lost its lead in the MLB Draft League standings, and a chance at a championship.
Yeah, it was a little heart breaking when you had to go our everyday and, you know, cancel a game. But, you know, I get it. It comes down to safety and welfare for our players, and we just did what we had to do,” said Drayer.
The Trenton Thunder have won four of their last six games, and had a one-game lead entering Friday.
Today’s cancellation ended the Black Bears’ chances at winning the first MLB Draft League crown.