BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Major League Baseball has announced that they will play a 60-game season beginning in July, but what does that mean for the Biloxi Shuckers?
The Biloxi Shuckers remain in limbo, and MGM Park remains empty.
With the exception of some youth baseball games, the stadium has been quiet.
“We are still waiting to hear what that means for us with minor league baseball and the Shuckers in particular,” said Shuckers General Manager Hunter Reed. “So we’re awaiting word just like everyone else. We’ve been working really hard to prepare for the season when it is safe to do so.
“In the meantime, we’re coming up with lots of events and other things to do at the ballpark, so we’re looking to be a part of the community, be out there having a place where people can enjoy the park in a safe manner.”
Reed said he expects to make an announcement as soon as next week about some of those plans.
Coronavirus is of course the problem. Every business has been affected, and the Shuckers are no different.
“We’re facing our challenges,” Reed said. “You know there are some difficult times without being able to generate the revenue that we’re used to, but that’s all. We’re doing everything that we can.”
The Biloxi Shuckers have paid the city their base rent of $150,000 for this year, but the city will miss out on about $200,000 from ticket sales.
Minor League Baseball was brought to Biloxi in 2015 with the promise of a downtown renaissance. While attendance numbers never met expectations, the team has never had a losing season, and the city has seen some growth in the area.
“You know it means a lot not having the Shuckers in the stadium,” said Biloxi spokesman Vincent Creel. “Because we’re excited and encouraged about some of the things we’re seeing in downtown. You do see construction, you do see things happening in downtown, but without the Shuckers and without other events at MGM Park, it puts a gray cloud over everything.
“The problem with MGM Park and other arenas across the country is they’re in the business of drawing crowds, and in this pandemic environment that’s the biggest thing you’re not supposed to do.
“What we gotta do is the only thing we can do, is hold on and hope this pandemic starts to go away,” Creel said. “But if you look at the numbers right now, that’s not going to be any time soon.”
Still, Reed is trying to remain optimistic. He said the organization has a few tricks up their sleeve.
“Stay tuned, we have a lot of fun stuff coming up,” he said.