Fairbanks Goldpanners won’t rejoin Alaska Baseball League in 2021
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Fairbanks Goldpanners won’t be stepping up to the plate for the Alaska Baseball League in 2021 after the ABL decided against having the Panners rejoin next summer.
The main reason behind the ABL’s decision was the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, league president Chris Beck wrote in a press release.
Despite not playing in the ABL, the Goldpanners will take on ABL teams in 2021, according to Beck. The Fairbanks squad will play exhibition games against ABL teams next summer with hopes of having them return in 2022 to create a six-team league.
Fairbanks left the ABL in 2015 to play an independent schedule and focused on playing teams that are affiliated with the National Baseball Congress World Series. The Goldpanners won their last NBC title in 2002, and their last appearance in the World Series was 2016.
The ABL did not have a 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, but is one of the nation’s top summer college baseball leagues, producing current Major League Baseball All-Stars such as Aaron Judge and Paul Goldschmidt.
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