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Sting of GreenJackets’ season cancellation weighs on city, team officials

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 4:20 PM EDT
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NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Team officials with the Augusta GreenJackets say even though they were holding out hope their season would be saved, they ultimately saw this coming. The 2020 Minor League Baseball season is canceled.

Now their focus is on making sure they do everything they can so baseball comes back to SRP Park in 2021.

"It wasn't a shocker so much, but it still kinda hurt," GreenJackets general manager Brandon Greene said. "Once you actually saw the news, it still stung and we're disappointed that there will be no South Atlantic League baseball at SRP Park this summer."

The writing has been on the wall for months. Even if they were able to play without fans, with no TV revenue, they'd have almost no money coming in.

"It's not easy," Greene said. "Ninety-five percent of our revenue through the baseball season is with ticket sales, sponsorship sales, food and beverage sales, merchandise."

And the impact goes far beyond the team.

"We have a lot more concerns now than we did 3, 4 months ago," North Augusta Mayor Bob Pettit said.

The city has to make bond payments twice a year in May and November. Between parking, restaurants, and the ballpark, a lot of that money comes from Riverside Village.

Pettit says they feel good about November's payment, but it's a little less clear after that.

"It's very disappointing," Pettit said. "It creates stress in a lot of ways and we gotta try and deal with it and figure out what to do."

The park is still allowed to have events with up to 250 people. With indoor and outdoor spaces, the team feels ready to handle these unusual circumstances.

"We're gonna try out best and hopefully put together some fall events, winter events, things like that to kind of catch up," Greene said.

Now the countdown is on to unlocking the gates and getting fans back in the seats.

“If you look at the math, we’re 270-something days away from Opening Day next year is how I look at it,” Greene said.

On Monday, high school baseball teams will start playing games here at SRP Park. That’ll be a weekly event during the summer. Greene says they’re also booked for most of July, doing different camps and other events that stay below that 250 person limit. All these events will be a little taste as we wait for Opening Day 2021.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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