Norfolk Tides trim staff, remain optimistic about future

Posted at 3:20 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 17:04:53-04

NORFOLK, Va. - If you're looking for a metaphor about the status of professional baseball, Mother Nature pitches one right down the middle for us.

The last time our News 3 cameras were at Harbor Park, home of the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, akin to the sunshine that day - chances of a baseball season appeared vibrant. However, Tuesday, a little more than two months later, like raindrops pounding the infield - baseball's bad news just won't let up.

"There's a lot of uncertainty, that's the only thing that's certain," admitted Joe Gregory, Tides general manager.

With Minor League Baseball's 2020 forecast appearing to be as dark and ominous as the clouds in Norfolk Tuesday, Gregory confirms the team is trimming its staff as a result of lost games due to COVID-19.

"Like every other business that's affected, we had some problems," Gregory revealed. "With no games, there's no revenue. We don't have a TV contract where we have that money coming in. Definitely the toughest part of the job is having to make those kind of calls."

Monday, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he is not confident there will be a major league season in 2020. That would mean game over for minor league baseball, too.

"It would obviously be a tremendous blow to the organization and the community," Gregory said Tuesday. "It's not just about our games, it's about the charitable stuff we do and the little league teams that come to the ballpark."

Harbor Park remains empty, but Gregory is full of optimism about the future of the Norfolk Tides, Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, beyond what appears to be a lost 2020 season.

"The team has been here for over 50 years," Gregory pointed out. "Harbor Park is not going anywhere and neither are the Tides."

They just have to weather the storm - and not necessarily the one from Mother Nature.