Ordinarily, the New England Collegiate Baseball League operates smoothly across all six New England states. However, with 13 teams spread out across six different states, and thus having six different sets of COVID-19 related regulations in place, starting the 2020 NECBL season on June 3 is not guaranteed.
“We’re monitoring all the regulations and guidance,” commissioner Sean McGrath said.
There is no set date for the league to make a decision regarding the summer season, and they are open to playing a shortened season. However, it will take at least a few weeks from when restrictions end to when a season could begin.
“Summer often starts when summer collegiate baseball begins,” McGrath said.
In regards to fans, or playing without fans, McGrath referenced studies that have shown it may take time for people to regain comfort in attending stadium events and returning to crowded places. He anticipates that it might take a while before things go back to the way they were last summer.
“People will be cautious,” McGrath said. “You can only respect them, knowing the ramifications of being infected with the virus.
Two teams, the Danbury Westerners and the Mystic Schooners are based in Connecticut. Just across the state border in New York lies the epicenter of the coronavirus in the United States. Connecticut is restricting gatherings and non-essential business until at least April 22.
Today, Vermont extended its restrictions until May 15. Maine is currently scheduled to be the first New England state to end “Stay Healthy at Home” on April 30, with New Hampshire and Massachusetts orders ending on May 4, and Rhode Island’s Stay-at-Home orders ending on May 8.
“The decision is likely going to be made for us,” McGrath said.
McGrath has been in communication with other leagues in New England, the 12 leagues across the country in the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball, and MLB as they assess plans for the summer season.
The NECBL last released a statement on March 26, and they will provide additional updates when possible.