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Summer-collegiate leagues prep for disrupted 2020 season

WCBLSummer-collegiate leagues are prepping for a disrupted 2020 season, with the Valley Baseball League canceling the season, some teams going on hiatus, and the Western Canadian Baseball League planning various scenarios.

The Virginia-based Valley Baseball League canceled their entire season because of the uncertainty of a schedule played out against the coronavirus pandemic. “As the Commissioner of the Valley Baseball League, it is with much sadness that I pass on to you that the Executive Committee unanimously agreed to officially cancel our 2020 Valley Baseball League season,” said Commissioner Bruce Alger in a press statement. Players were released from their contracts to pursue play in other summer-collegiate leagues. The plan is for the VBL to return in 2021.

Still planning play for 2020: the Western Canadian Baseball League, though the start and length of the season may depend on how fast we see normalcy after the coronavirus pandemic. From the Regina Leader-Post:

WCBL vice-president Bernie Eiswirth, who’s also general manager of the Regina Red Sox, said the dates are dependent on which direction the coronavirus takes.

“If we don’t get an all clear by (July 1), we’ll cancel the season and it’s the only thing we could do,” Eiswirth said. “We still have to have some optimism that something positive could happen.”

Eiswirth said if sports are given clearance to proceed by May 15, the WCBL could start June 1. An all clear by June 1 means the league could open play on June 16. If that green light happens on June 16, they would begin the season on July 1, with a partial schedule.

There is also a chance teams within the WCBL may take an emergency leave of absence. That’s the case in the NYCBL, where the Hormel Dodgers are sitting out the 2021 season for financial reasons stemming from the coronavirus pandemic: “We have hosted a summer collegiate baseball team in Hornell for 27 consecutive summers so this decision was not easy at all. We are proud of what we have been able to accomplish over the years,” Dodgers general manager Paul Welker said in a press release. “Our financials heading into the 2020 season were not where we wanted them and the risks associated with the current health crisis led to this decision.”

The Northwoods League and other summer-collegiate leagues are holding to their plans to open the 2020 schedule on time, although that could obviously change if there is still a threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic. The Northwoods League, for example, is set for a May 26 launch.

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