A day after the Florida State League canceled its championship series in deference to Hurricane Irma’s path toward Florida, the Southern League followed suit.
Just like the FSL, the SL will now award co-championships to the winner of each of its division series. The four playoff teams in the league are the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Marlins) and Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Reds) in the Southern Division and the Montgomery Biscuits (Rays) and Chattanooga Lookouts (Twins) in the Northern Division.
"With an abundance of caution, I have made the hard decision to cancel our Championship Series," SL president Lori Webb said. "Due to concerns for our players' safety, coupled with potential shortages of gas, hotel rooms and other items that may hinder the many evacuees leaving the affected area, it seemed like the right thing to do. As this storm passes through, I hope for the best to all those in harm's way."
Additionally, the Southern Division Series has been adjusted so that no games in the best-of-five series will be played in Jacksonville. Games 1 and 2 will be played in Pensacola as scheduled, but Games 3, 4 and 5, which were slated to be played in Jacksonville, will be moved to alternate sites.
Game 3 will remain in Pensacola, but Games 4 and 5 (if necessary) will be moved to Biloxi.
“They would normally go to Jacksonville but the storm is supposed to hit them about when they’re supposed to start over there, but Pensacola has college football at its stadium on Saturday and it takes Pensacola a while to get it’s stadium back together after that,” Webb said. “Pensacola is not an option. For that reason, Biloxi was kind enough to host those two games for us.”
Much like the Florida State League, this scenario has precedent. In 2004, another hurricane forced the cancellation of the championship series and Mobile and Tennessee were awarded shares of the champions.