Leagues across the summer-collegiate baseball landscape are responding to the coronavirus pandemic, with most currently planning to launch their 2020 seasons on schedule.
The evolving response to coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to have implications on the baseball world, with Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball, and the independent Atlantic League all announcing delays to their seasons. Traditionally, summer-collegiate circuits start around Memorial Day, which is roughly about the earliest MLB could launch in light of its decision to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to cancel gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.
As the sports world continues to make adjustments to the pandemic, some summer-collegiate leagues are clarifying their current plans for 2020. Those that have weighed in are expressing hope that they can play their seasons on schedule, while at the same time acknowledging the fluid nature of the situation and the need to constantly monitor how it evolves. That includes the Coastal Plain League which, for now, is planning to launch as scheduled in late May:
— Coastal Plain League (@CPLBaseball) March 13, 2020
The Northwoods League, meanwhile, is taking a similar approach, indicating in a statement on Sunday that will it prepare to begin the season in late May as scheduled while continuing to monitor the situation:
With fan, player and personnel safety as our primary concern, the Northwoods League has been closely monitoring the progression of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on public gatherings such as sporting and special events. The League takes seriously its responsibility to focus on the facts, and to act with common sense and sound judgment after considering the best available information. A proactive process is, and will be, ongoing as events continue to unfold, but for now the League is preparing for the start of its season as anticipated.
Please rest assured that the Northwoods League and its Affiliates will continue to closely monitor the situation, and will continue to do so as events unfold. Stay tuned, and stay safe.
On Tuesday, the West Coast League said it is preparing to begin play as scheduled in early June, while stressing that it and its teams will continue to track guidelines that are implemented in response to COVID-19:
An update regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) and the West Coast League. https://t.co/6HDAtwE2uV pic.twitter.com/HFPc9E5w42
— West Coast League (@WCLBaseball) March 17, 2020
The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League is also currently planning to begin play on schedule, with its season to get underway in late May, but says it will follow CDC recommendations. “We will follow all of the CDC recommendations and standards as established by the NCAA and the baseball industry with regard to commencing the season and protecting the health and well-being of the players, our staff and fans,” league president Robert Julian said in a press statement issued Saturday. “However, we look forward with optimism that our season will commence, and we are making preparations accordingly.”
Thus far, professional and collegiate sports leagues and conferences around the United States have had to make adjustments in the wake of the evolving response by public health officials and elected leaders to COVID-19. For now, the possibility of summer-collegiate leagues being able to launch on schedule remains in play, though the circumstances surrounding the response to COVID-19 are fluid and need to be monitored closely.
With hourly news about the spread of the coronavirus impacting the sports-business and facilities industries, it’s more important than ever to stay up with the latest news in the venues industry. That’s why we’re launching a new Venues Digest newsletter focusing on coronavirus information across the ballparks, arenas, stadiums, theater and performing-arts worlds. For now it will appear daily, and for now it will be free of charge. Sign up here.
RELATED STORIES: Atlantic League Delaying 2020 Season; It’s Official: Don’t Look for MLB Until Memorial Day; MLB Teams Order Non-Roster Players Home, Shut Down Workouts; More MLB Teams Announce Plans to Aid Game-Day Employees; Telecommuting in Baseball’s Front Offices the New Reality; MLB, MiLB Season Openers Could Be Delayed to May; Surprise! Spring Training’s Canceled. What’s Next?; MLB Season Delayed For Two Weeks, MiLB Season Indefinitely