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Fisher Cats autographs

The Fisher Cats’ Chad Spanberger signs autographs before the team played Trenton in an Eastern League game in August 2019 at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester. The game was the opener of the Fisher Cats’ last home series of the season. The Fisher Cats probably won’t play this year, the team’s owner said Friday.

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats probably won’t play this year, the minor league baseball team’s owner told the New Hampshire Union Leader on Friday.

“We, of course, feel terrible that it’s not likely that we’ll play this summer,” Arthur Solomon said in a phone interview.

Through Saturday, 36 games will have been postponed — including 16 at home. The season was scheduled to start April 9 on the road and April 16 at home at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

A canceled season could mean a “bottom line” loss of more than $1 million for the Fisher Cats this year, said Solomon, who has owned the team for 15 years.

“Because we don’t have the revenue sources, particularly television that Major League Baseball does, it’s tougher to imagine that we’re going to play,” said Solomon, chairman and CEO of The DSF Group, a real estate investment company in Waltham, Mass.

The pandemic has caused sporting events around the world to be postponed or canceled. Many businesses also shuttered as governments placed restrictions to try to curb the spread of COVID-19.

MLB officials and the players union are discussing how to possibly proceed with a shortened season. Solomon said he expects a decision on the minor leagues will follow.

Trying to play games with fans while health safeguards like social distancing are in place would be “very, very challenging,” he said. He also doesn’t know what state restrictions will remain in effect for large gatherings.

Baseball games give families something to do outside, and fans provide parking revenue for the city, said At Large Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur.

“I hope they open,” Levasseur said. “We need to get this state open, and we need to get people outside, and we need to get people enjoying their lives.”

Saturday, May 30, 2020