Minnesota Amateur Baseball is Playing Games
The Faribault Lakers and Lonsdale Aces are playing a exhibition game in Lonsdale Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. Lakers Manager Charlie Lechtenberg told KDHL there will be umpires but the contest is purely an exhibition. It's a way to practice the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan provided by the Minnesota Baseball Association.
Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. the Wanamingo Jacks travel to Morristown to play the Morries. Jacks Manager Brady Anfinson tells us the contest is a scrimmage. They will not have umpires. It's a way to get ready for games which will hopefully start soon for these teams.
He says the Wanamingo field is owned by the Kenyon-Wanamingo School District and they have said the next time they will revisit the opening of the field will be July 1.
Anfinson says that amateur baseball is still hoping to have the State Tournament in Sleepy Eye and New Ulm the last two weekends of August, ending on Labor Day weekend.
Wanamingo plays in the Twin Rivers League which supposedly coming up with a schedule for the 9 teams in the league. Anfinson says the conversation has been about having an abbreviated league schedule. Typically they play 16 league games and fill in with other contests. The Jacks Manager speculated there could be as few as 8 league games.
I don't know how that happens frankly with most of the teams in the league not having home fields approved for play by the MBA. Owatonna, Waseca, Winona, Austin, Rochester and of course Wanamingo all not listed among the approved parks.
The Cannon Falls City Council Tuesday night voted unanimously in favor of opening John Burch Park to games effective immediately.
The Waterville Indians have also been given permission to play at their field.
The Minnesota Baseball Association (MBA) is requiring teams to get permission from the owner of the field where they play with proof of insurance. Teams must also have a COVID plan. The MBA has provided a plan and some guidelines for teams to follow.
Faribault has not opened Bell Field to games yet. Practices can happen there.
Lechtenberg sent a letter to city Parks and Recreation Director Paul Penansky and also sent it to Faribault Mayor Kevin Voracek. The Mayor told KDHL the Parks Department has been following the Governor's, "Guidelines or mandates or whatever you want to call them."
Here is a copy of the letter.
To whom this may concern,
"The Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Association (MBA) has made it possible to play amateur baseball games in cities that will allow the field to be used for games. We feel that with the plans we have attached that we can safely return to baseball games at Bell Field immediately. Attached you will find a Bell Field plan for baseball in 2020. This should cover any questions on how we will handle practices and games for players, fans and umpires."
"This plan will be posted in the dugouts and at the entrance to the field. Also attached is the MBA COVID 19 Plan, our plan goes above and beyond the MBA plan, but it is also attached to this email. The final attachment is a form for fans to complete upon arrival to the park. This form is very straightforward and has people sign that they are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID."
"The forms for fans can be mandatory if you feel that it would be a good thing to have and could get us playing ball faster. At this time we don not plan on having a concession stand at Bell Field for the 2020 season. With these plans we feel we can return to play safely and immediately. To do so we would need the city to send an email to MBA Board member Mike Nagel (his email address) stating that they (you) are insured and that it is OK for amateur baseball (Faribault Lakers) to begin games."
"I understand that the Governor has not opened up baseball for games yet, however teams around the state are doing these precautions and have begun games. Locally Lonsdale has given the go-ahead for amateur baseball games to begin."
"With these plans in place there is no reason to wait, we can start playing games here in Faribault. I believe that all people need a sense of community and normalcy now more than ever, and we may be able to supply people a small bit of that."
"Thanks for your consideration,"
The Bell Field COVID-19 Safe Play Plan 2020 outlines mandatory protocols for players, fans and umpires.
We will include the Spectators General Protocols:
- Spectators are encouraged to maintain six feet of distance from any other person and stay in the designated spectator area, and to wear masks/face coverings.
- Spectators are expected to conduct self-assessment of COVID-19 symptoms, and must stay home if experiencing symptoms.
- Hand washing or hand sanitizing , in the absence of soap and water, is strongly recommended during the games.
Players wearing of masks is optional on the field of play. Wearing a face covering when not actively participating in the field of play is recommended, particularly for team personnel with family/friends most vulnerable to COVID-19. Face coverings are optional for umpires.
The Minnesota Baseball Association COVID-19 Preparedness Plan states:
- Encourage social distancing by spectators inside the park. The size of our stadiums makes this easy to accomplish.
- Social distancing of players in dugouts, bullpens and outside the dugout to the outfield side if needed.
- Hand sanitizer available in both dugouts and at concession stand.
- No handshakes, high fives or unneeded contact of any kind.
- Players should avoid sharing gear.
- Players will label and bring their own water or sports drink. No water fountains may be used under any circumstance.
- No spitting of any kind. This includes sunflower seeds, chewing tobacco, etc.
- Facemasks and gloves may be worn by players, fans and umpires.
- Facemasks and gloves must be worn by all concession stand workers.
- Umpires can choose to stand behind the catcher or pitcher.
These guidelines will be posted in the dugouts and read by the PA announcer before every game.
The MBA website includes a list of the parks approved to hold activities. We will list just those from the KDHL listening area.
- Maple River
- New Munich
- St. Patrick
- Green Isle
- St. Benedict
The Minnesota Baseball Association says teams playing without permission will be subject to sanctions and or fines. The MBA says due to some complaints from fans about rules not being followed by some teams they are implementing a zero tolerance rule. "If we receive complaints about your field, MBA reserves the right to remove any team from the approved list indefinitely. This is a big deal and we need to do it right!"