In a press release distributed May 9, Minnesota American Legion Baseball announced the cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns.
While some have said the decision to cancel the season was premature, Falls Legion head coach Phil Talmage said he understands it was done in regards to player, umpire and audience safety.
“I know Legion Baseball needed to make choices to keep the national perspective in mind,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that we’re losing a season of Legion Baseball, but I understand at this point in time organizations need to take measures to protect people.”
With 366 teams fielded in the 2019 season, and 357 signed up for 2020, Minnesota boasted the highest number of Legion Baseball teams in the country, so it’s little surprise some communities are coming together to see if baseball can still be played in the summer, including our own.
“We have been in contact with coaches throughout northern Minnesota and right now we’re trying to work out a solution so kids can play baseball,” Talmage said. “We’re working under the governor’s orders and making sure we’re keeping the sport safe for all the kids and spectators.”
Some have also speculated the cancellation of the 2020 season could be the start of the decline of Legion Baseball participation in Minnesota in the following years.
Talmage said while he doesn’t want to speculate on the future, he acknowledges this situation is letting communities see if they can play baseball without going through the American Legion.
“I think we’re going to feel the effects of COVID-19 for a long time,” he said. “Right now, we’re just concerned with being consistent with the governor’s orders and handling the situation safely.”
Talmage said he understands the Borderland community is sports-starved, and he empathizes that feeling.
“I’ve watched too many TV reruns to count, so I know I’m personally sports-starved and I know several 13 to 19-year-olds that just want to play a little baseball,” he said. “I’m optimistic we can find some sort of solution to allow these kids to play the sport they love. We’re gonna figure out something.”