Hello Bears Baseball Family – I’d like to start by saying how proud I am to be a part of this association. For those of you who have reached out and notified us of your decision to pull your child out of baseball this year, we completely understand and respect your reasons for doing so. We sincerely hope we get to see all of your kids back on the field next summer. For the rest of you who have made it abundantly clear that you want as much baseball to be played as possible this summer, I can assure you that the board is doing everything we can to make that happen in a safe and timely manner. I’d like to provide you with an update on each of our four leagues, and I encourage you to read this message in its entirety if you have time, so you have the full picture of where things stand for WBBA at this point.
Traveling team rosters were released on Saturday the 16th. In order to form teams, 175 players across our various age levels submitted “video tryouts” of themselves performing a series of baseball skills as determined by our tryouts committee. All videos were analyzed and scored by at least six experienced baseball evaluators per age level. Some of these evaluators were familiar with the players at that particular age level, and others were not. The aggregate scores, along with coach evaluations from previous seasons (if available), were carefully considered when forming the rosters.
These traveling teams had begun practices this week in groups of 10 or less (including coaches). Other safety measures had been communicated to parents through their head coach. Unfortunately, all youth sports organizations received notice today that the state has closed organized youth sports until June 1st (see link: https://mn.gov/covid19/for-minnesotans/stay-safe-mn/stay-safe-plan.jsp).
At this point, MYAS is still working with the state and planning to begin league play the week of June 15th, running through the end of July. In the event that MYAS cancels their season, it will be up to each traveling team’s coaches and parents as to whether they continue practicing and looking for games against other local teams (if gathering sizes allow) and/or out of state competition.
We still believe that a season for our in-house players is a possibility, but of course this is largely dependent on gathering size limits increasing in the coming weeks. Our goal would be to begin games the week of June 15th and run through the end of July. In order to get a full schedule of games completed, we would likely need to play some games on weekends. Unlike traveling, we will not form rosters for in-house without first having the assurance that we will be able to play games. Because of this, we will likely need to make a go/no-go decision during the week of June 1st. We will be sure to communicate our intentions as quickly and clearly as possible during that week. Registration will remain open until a decision is reached. If we do proceed with the season, we will leave registration open for an additional 24 hours after that decision is announced.
North Star & Senior League Update
North Star and Senior League registration continues to remain open and teams are being tentatively formed, although of course they won’t be announced until after registration closes. We will follow the guidance of MYAS regarding these leagues, similar to our traveling teams. Depending on further communication from MYAS, we will provide at least 24 hour notice prior to closing registration.
As we run a very lean operation, I want you to know that WBBA takes every dollar we collect and spend very seriously. Our fiscal year essentially runs February 1st (when registration opens) through January 31st. Every decision our board is making these days is being measured through the lens of remaining solvent through next January. We are diligently tracking down fees we had pre-paid for events that have since been cancelled, as well as not spending additional money on uniforms, equipment, etc. until we are sure we will have a season. Should a mass cancellation scenario play out in the coming weeks, our goal will be to return as many dollars as possible to our families while maintaining our solvency through January 2021.
To close, I want to thank our board for the countless hours they have invested in a season that may never happen. I want to thank our traveling coaches who have stepped up to lead practices under less-than-ideal circumstances. I want to thank our in-house, North Star, and Senior League coaches who have volunteered their time and yet are still waiting in limbo. And last, but certainly not least, I want to thank our many parents and players for their patience and professionalism as we all play the waiting game for baseball in 2020.
Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you at a ball field soon.
President – White Bear Baseball