"After numerous unsuccessful attempts to gain necessary approvals from the State of New York, we have determined that a 2020 baseball season will not be possible," the Long Island Ducks announced this afternoon on Twitter. "We'd like to thank all our fans & marketing partners for your support!"
Less than two weeks ago, on June 19, the team announced it was developing plans and would have a new schedule announced in approximately one week. The hopes of playing ball this season are over, however. The following is the full announcement from the team.
Long Island Ducks team officials today announced that work on a 2020 schedule in an attempt to begin play with several other professional baseball clubs would not continue. The decision was reached following numerous unsuccessful attempts to gain exemption from the State of New York’s decision last week not allowing fans into professional sports venues. The team was seeking permission to open at 25% capacity -- a number previously envisioned and proposed -- in Long Island’s Phase 4 of reopening. The team will immediately turn its attention to booking Bethpage Ballpark for various uses in the coming months, including camps, clinics, corporate events and field rentals.
“We tried everything in our power to start the season despite the pandemic and all the challenges it presented,” said Ducks CEO and Founder Frank Boulton. “We presented a safety plan detailing the protocols we would follow to provide the safest possible way for Long Islanders to enjoy a night out. Without fans, we cannot move forward in 2020. At this time, we have not gained approval from New York State to open our gates to fans. We are very disappointed that this is the result, but we look forward to seeing everyone at the ballpark again in 2021.”
The Ducks had been working with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, presenting the “COVID-19 Readiness Plan: A Guide to Operating Bethpage Ballpark” for review and approval several weeks ago. The County Executive praised the plan in his June 5 Coronavirus update, calling it “incredibly thorough” with significant safety protocols in place in an effort to keep people safe. Bellone further noted Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desire and support to get sports back on the field in Phase 4 (scheduled for July 8 on Long Island). While Phase 4 had previously contemplated a limit of 25% of capacity for spectator sports, Governor Cuomo announced last Wednesday that would no longer be the case, and professional sports would only be permitted to open without fans in New York.
“This is obviously not the outcome we worked towards,” said Ducks President/GM Michael Pfaff. “We worked very hard on presenting something that was well thought out, using common sense and abiding by the highest governmental and medical standards available during the process. Ultimately, it was not enough to get the season started in a timely fashion. To our partners that assisted in this process, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude. To all fans and marketing partners of the Ducks, we thank you for your support.”
The Ducks will be reaching out to those holding season tickets, mini plans, suite leases, group tickets and sponsorship packages in the coming weeks regarding 2020 accounts. Fans holding single game tickets for the 2020 season should reference the single game Ducks ticket policy, which can be found HERE.