Summer collegiate baseball won’t be hitting it out of the park until late June at the earliest.
Following a board of governors meeting on Wednesday night, the Western Canadian Baseball League announced it was officially, at minimum, delaying the start of the 2020 summer season until late June, early July while considering other measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Although the circumstances are not moving quickly enough at present in our favour, we want to look at all options in order to play this year,” said WCBL president Kevin Kvame in a press release. “The start of the season as scheduled in late May is impossible to maintain at this point and this, we regrettably need to make this decision.
“At the same time, however, we express that with ever changing dynamics and circumstances on this pandemic and the measures needed to curtail it we still want to maintain hope that a partial season can be played should health and government positions on the pandemic change enough to make it feasible.”
The Okotoks Dawgs, defending WCBL champions, were slated to open their season on the road in Edmonton on May 29 and to begin its home schedule on June 3 against the Lethbridge Bulls.
In a team release, Dawgs managing director John Ircandia said the WCBL will continue exploring options, including a shortened season beginning at the end of June or immediately prior to Canada Day as well as the potential for the extension of the 2020 season into the Labour Day weekend in September.
The WCBL features teams from Saskatchewan and Alberta with the Western Division featuring squads from Okotoks, Brooks, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Edmonton and Fort McMurray.
"As has been the case to date, the WCBL will closely monitor and be guided by the health and government regulations in effect as the days and weeks pass and will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our players, coaches, fans and communities," the release stated.
In addition, to the announcement of the delay, the league also presented information on a legacy project as a means to better showcase the community pride and brand when teams do make their return to the diamond, with the goal of making the legacy project a joint effort involving all three levels of government as well as key stakeholders.
“We know our talented players want to play and we know the communities are looking for positive, family-friendly activities to return,” Kvame added. “We are embracing that role whenever that green light is turned on.”
When the Dawgs return to action and fans descend upon the friendly confines they will do so at a new-look Seaman Stadium. The Core-4 construction of part of the berm area and left field bleachers is well underway.
The Dawgs are also hosting a food drive for the Okotoks Food Bank Association on May 9 at the Seaman Stadium parking lot, with a drive-thru format where non-perishable donated goods will be taken out of the trunks of vehicles.
For more information go to Dawgsbaseball.ca
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