There are now outdoor gatherings of 250 people allowed in Minnesota. There are now outdoor sports activities of 25 or fewer people allowed in Minnesota.
Fred Roufs, president of the Minnesota Baseball Association board, said:
“We qualify under that guidance. With two umps and the bases loaded, the maximum number of people we have participating on the field are 14. And we’d have no problem with 250 and social distancing, because most of our games draw 150-200 people in ballparks that hold 750, and most more than that.”
The MBA oversees the 235 Class B and C teams in towns across this state. There are another 40 Class A teams inside the Interstate 494-694 corridor of the Twin Cities that basically run themselves.
A few minutes into Gov. Tim Walz’s briefing Friday, townballers from Bluffton to Blue Earth, Buttermakers and Snurdbirds, Orphans and Dukes, let out a celebratory cry of “Play Ball!’’
An hour later, when Walz’s bureaucrats were finished, there had been a hint baseball was classified as “high risk” and there was no go-ahead to finally start the season.
This text from an townball insider greeted me on Saturday morning: “Amateur baseball world in uproar. Guess it’s safer to have someone slobbering on you in a bar than to play a ballgame outside.”
I made a few calls. Some information was passed along. I’m now in the rare position of saying this: Relax.
Nick Frentz is a DFL senator from North Mankato. He’s a Roufs friend and also heavily involved in youth football in Mankato. He’s dwelled on other things in these troubled times, while also checking occasionally on potential sports participation.
“I’m trying to clarify what the guidance on baseball is from the Minnesota Department of Health,’’ Frentz said. “If it approves of the social distancing plan laid out by the baseball board, I believe we will be opening up very soon.”
June 20, latest, is what I was hearing from others Saturday. The hope is that the go-ahead comes earlier, allowing play to start next weekend when the schedule is hectic.
“Every week we miss right now costs us 500-600 games around the state,” Roufs said.
— The Brookings (S.D.) Cubs are our state’s favorite town team. The Cubs have had 15 Minnesota teams trying to schedule them on recent weekends.
— With a late Labor Day (Sept. 7), Roufs said a June start will allow for a three-weekend B and C tournament in New Ulm and Springfield, starting Aug. 21.
— Health officials have categories for viral risk. Baseball and softball are Category 2, behind Category 1 (tennis, golf, e.g.).
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