Trail Youth Baseball held out for as long as it could but cancelled its season on Friday.
The league executive announced in a letter to parents that the 2020 campaign would not resume as anticipated.
“The Executive was hopeful that we might have been able to get a shortened regular season in this year, but with parks still closed, guidelines not yet in place, Castlegar and Nelson cancelling, and no information as to when restrictions would be lifted, we were left with no choice.”
There was reason for hope after the province announced that organized sport would be a part of the phase-2 plan to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
TYB president Jim Maniago announced in February that the league was expanding to include a Senior Division for Grades 10-12 and a Junior Division for Grades 7-9. The teams for 13-to 18-year-old players would play in the West Kootenay league which includes teams from Castlegar and Nelson.
Unfortunately, a lack of direction from viaSport, the provincial organizing body, and the province has left BC sports organizations like TYB and Trail Little League without a season.
“The frustrating thing is there has been no movement, no one knows who or when things will get moved forward and no one is talking about it so you can’t plan anything,” said Maniago.
On viaSport website, the provincial governing body of sport states, “At the request of the Province of B.C., viaSport is leading the creation of a set of guidelines on how to resume sport while operating safely during this pandemic – the Return to Sport Guidelines.
“These guidelines will be issued following review and approval by a cross-ministry oversight committee supported by guidance and advice of provincial health officials and WorkSafe BC.”
As of press time Monday, no such guielines had been issued and for TYB, which usually runs from mid-April to the end of June, it simply could not wait any longer.
“While we always knew the cancellation of our season was a real possibility, it is still incredibly disappointing to have to make it official. We were excited to include our Grade 12s in the league this year and wanted to give them every opportunity to play their last year of baseball, but the latest stumbling block in the return to play process closed that window of opportunity.”
Maniago had told the Times earlier that he was optimistic that there would be an abbreviated season but as the days and weeks passed since the province’s May 14 Restart Plan, he grew less hopeful.
“Once someone gives some guidelines then all sports are ready to present modifications for approval and things will move ahead. It really makes no sense that higher risk indoor activities have begun, yet outdoor sports that we know are lower risk are still on hold.
“We are still hoping to possibly offer some type of baseball activities but we just don’t know when.”
South of the border, in Idaho and Montana, leagues have already started, and Prince Edward Island baseball released guidelines and a clear timeline for its leagues to begin play.
“If we were all told no, it’s not possible, we’d be disappointed, but would move on,” added Maniago. “But when we keep hearing, ‘yes baseball can happen,’ and everyone is waiting in limbo, it becomes way more frustrating.”
Like Trail Little League, Trail Youth Baseball will refund all families who have registered and is hopeful that guidelines are eventually put in place, and TYB can play safely by the end of summer or in the fall months.