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Report: Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Likely to be Postponed Until 2021

Looks like we might have to wait another year to witness Derek Jeter's induction into Cooperstown.

Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Baseball Hall of Fame is expected to announce this week that this year's induction ceremony will be postponed until 2021, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. 

The festivities were scheduled to take place from July 24-26. Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and the late Marvin Miller were set to be enshrined representing this year's class.

The Hall's board of directors will meet in the coming days to discuss the predicament. With COVID-19 keeping millions of Americans hunkered down in quarantine – while putting Major League Baseball and all professional sports on hold – pushing the ceremonies back until next summer appears to be the safest option.

Nightengale brings up a good point in his report. Not only does a ceremony of this magnitude foster situations where social distancing is virtually impossible, but plenty of Hall of Famers who would attend the induction are seniors and thus at a higher risk of contracting the virus.

Here's more from Nightengale, including a comment from Hall of Famer Andre Dawson.

“How could you have an induction ceremony?’’ Hall of Famer Andre Dawson told USA TODAY Sports. “I wouldn’t want to see it happen. You got to look at well-being of people. You look at the older guys that come here. Think about the crowd. It’s just way too risky.’’

There are 38 Hall of Famers who are 70 years or older, including 19 who are least 80 years old. The idea of Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax endangering their lives to be at Cooperstown this summer is senseless. 

READ: Derek Jeter reflects upon his iconic career for the first time at HOF introductory press conference

Logistically, postponing everything for just a few months would be a challenge. Plus, the Hall's executives have reportedly dismissed any inkling of a virtual ceremony. Therefore, the best bet is to have a joint ceremony in 2021 with the induction of two classes. 

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The economic implications of postponing the festivities this summer, however, are staggering. Cooperstown, a quaint town in upstate New York, is reliant on the flow of tourists throughout the year as well as the tens of thousands of baseball fans that flock to the city for each summer's ceremony.

Shops, restaurants, hotels and more – including the museum itself – have been desolate during the pandemic and are now bracing for a quiet summer. No business during induction weekend and its surrounding weeks could be devastating for small business owners.

One told Nightengale that postponing this year's ceremony would be a disaster.

“My friends in the village are predicting a 50% to 80% drop in revenue this summer,’’ says Larry Petraglia, who owns Doubleday Batting Range, across the parking lot from Doubleday Field. “I should be open by now. I may not be open all year.

“This might be the final nail in the coffin if they postpone (the induction ceremony) and move it to next year.’’

Jeter fell just one vote shy of joining his former teammate Mariano Rivera as the second player to ever be voted into the Hall unanimously. Right-hander Mike Mussina – who spent eight seasons in pinstripes – was also inducted in 2019 alongside the legendary closer. 

A handful of Yankees are set to be listed on the ballot in 2021, although none of them are favorites to receive a sufficient percentage of votes to be elected. 

READ: Former Yankees on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2021

The 2020 MLB season could be postponed further in the coming weeks as well. MLB's initial eight-week hiatus, set in motion on March 12, is set to come to a close on May 10. 

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