The Burlington Royals say they will have Baseball in Burlington in 2021

More from David Kehrli at the Burlington Times-News….
The shelving of Minor League Baseball’s 2020 season hasn’t slowed the optimism within the Burlington Royals organization.

The now-canceled season potentially looms as the last hurrah for the current Appalachian League, as nine of its 10 rookie-level teams, including the Royals, are on a 42-team list targeted for elimination as part of Major League Baseball’s plan to contract and restructure its minor leagues.

General manager Anderson Rathbun said Wednesday the Burlington organization will field a team in 2021, whether in the Appalachian League or elsewhere.

“Regardless of what happens, obviously we’re not at that negotiating table (for restructuring), but we’re pumped and we’re excited to have baseball here in 2021,” Rathbun said. “Whether that is in the Appalachian League, whether that’s organized baseball in any organization you can think of. We’re excited to welcome fans here in 2021. There’s definitely going to be baseball here.

“That’s our biggest message for people that see that the season got canceled and worried that that might have been the last season of baseball in Burlington, we assure them that we’re fully committed to keeping baseball here. And that’s exactly what we’ve done behind the scenes over the last couple of months is find alternative routes, and alternative organizations and leagues that if the Appalachian League isn’t able to stay in 2021, we definitely have options to go elsewhere. So we’re excited about that possibility. We’re excited about the different options that we have and interest, and it gives us a lot of confidence because baseball will be here in 2021.”

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