Online Originals: Local community feels impact following cancellation of Wood Ducks season

Online Originals

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) There won’t be a season for the Down East Wood Ducks this year because of the pandemic. This news comes after Major League Baseball’s announcement to cancel all Minor League play for the 2020 season on Tuesday.

It leaves employees of the 160 different minor league baseball teams across the country concerned.

“We are trying to do as many things as we can to just keep paying the bills and keep everybody on staff,” said Wade Howell, Vice President of the Down East Wood Ducks.

In Kinston, Howell is working to keep his employees together.

“To date, I think we are most proud of that we have not furloughed anybody and we are trying to continue that,” said Howell.

Workers at Grainer Stadium are not the only ones taking a hit. Mother Earth Motor Lodge, one of the primary hotels where visiting teams would normally stay, is feeling the impact. Its manager now has more rooms to fill than what she is used to.

“We had been talking to Wade over at the Wood Ducks. We stay in very close contact with them and so we knew what to expect,” said Stephanie Ormond, General Manager at the Mother Earth Motor Lodge. “We have been working on multiple ideas to try to bring in more tourists in a different direction.”

The lodge has taken its down time and used it to make advances through small tasks.

“Well, I mean of course there have been some added stresses, but it has really made us stop and have time to go through with a fine-tooth comb,” said Ormond.

While losing the Wood Ducks’ season is having an effect on people in Kinston, many are trying to remain positive, finding new ways to generate revenue.

“It’s not the best situation but it has forced us to be creative and we can use that in future seasons as well,” said Howell.

To learn more about what the Wood Ducks and the Mother Earth Motor Lodge are doing to stay afloat during the pandemic, watch the full Online Original video above!

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