MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. — The Morehead City Marlins announced Thursday that they have suspended operations for the 2020 season.
In the announcement Thursday afternoon, the Marlins stated the decision to suspend their 2021 title-defending season was "heartbreaking" and "an extremely difficuly one," but the safety of players, fans, host families and team staff were the organization's top priority.
"This is one of the hardest organizational decisions I have ever had to make, but our organization had to put the health and safety of everyone involved at the forefront of our decision-making process," Marlins owner Buddy Bengel said.
Morehead City was coming off back-to-back Coastal Plain League championship seasons when COVID-19 forced the postponement of the circuit's season into early July, similar to other collegiate summer leagues. The Coastal Plain League gave each organization the opportunity to make their own decisions regarding the status of their 2020 operations. With North Carolina state officials recently tightening restrictions on its citizens, the Marlins elected to suspend their camapign.
"Because of the Governor's announcement yesterday, the Marlins organization decided felt it was in the best interest of everyone not to play this summer," Bengel said. "Our team has done everything it could to play for the best fans in the country here in Carteret County, but we strongly value the health of our players, fans, host families and staff."
This season will be the first that Morehead City will not see the Marlins play since 2009, the year before Bengel brought the team to the Crystal Coast.
"We promise to continue to work hard to being another championship to Morehead City in 2021, and we cannot thank our partners and fans enough for their unwavering support."
Marlins officials will be in contact with season ticket holders and sponsors with more information in the near future.