The disruption that had most concerned Cooperstown’s baseball industry arrived Friday, March 20.
Cooperstown Dreams Park, which each summer draws baseball players from across the country to the area for the opportunity to play near the game’s spiritual home, announced on its website Friday that it was canceling its 2020 season because of concerns over the spread of COVID-19.
“In the best interest of our country, state, local community, local partners, coaches, umpires and most importantly, our employees, players and their families, whose health and safety we are obligated to protect, Cooperstown Dreams Park has determined it is necessary to cancel the 2020 season,” a statement on the organization’s website said.
The statement said that the Dreams Park facilities “are available for use, if needed in combating COVID-19 or for caring for those inflicted with the virus.” The statement also said the park will establish a food donation center and food kitchen for those in need.
Earlier this week, those involved in the baseball industry in Cooperstown had said that the cancellation of tournaments at Dreams Park would have a far greater economic impact than the indefinite closure of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, or even a potential adjustment to the museum’s induction weekend.
A spokesperson for the Hall of Fame said earlier this week that contingencies were not yet being considered for induction weekend, which remains scheduled for July 24-27.
Still, local business is likely to feel the effects. The Dreams Park website claims more than 500,000 people head to Cooperstown each summer, with that number likely to be dented by the cancellation.
“Cooperstown Dreams Park was hoping to avoid this outcome, but it is the only responsible course of action. Like the rest of the nation, we have never experienced anything like this,” the statement said.