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Association waits for “Play Ball” call

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While the good news is there will be a minor baseball season in 2020, the question is, when will it start?
The province anounced the resuming sports activities for children and adults, with the exception of professional sports, as part of the second phase of its plan to safely restore services and open additional businesses while ensuring physical distancing measures remain in place.
According to Dauphin Minor Baseball Association president Jodie Romanow, organizations across the province are waiting for Baseball Manitoba to hand down its guidelines regarding what needs to be done to get the season going.
“We don’t make up our own rules. We are under the direction of Baseball Manitoba,” she said.
“So what we’re doing right now is basically preparing the length of our season, our coach availability, finishing up our lists for the kids that are already registered and just being ready to put into action any sort of plan Baseball Manitoba may come up with.”
The number of teams will depend on the regulations in terms of number of players per team or travel outside the community.
“We’re very fortunate to have enough players that we could have a short season league just to play the game within Dauphin. But it all depends on if we are allowed to play our surrounding communities,” she said.
The registration process has been completed and, due to the pandemic, numbers, Romanow said, are low.
“Some people chose just not to register,” she said, adding the older age groups do not have enough players to field a team.
“We are approaching them to get them to see, if we have a season, can you get registered? Just get your form in and we’ll deal with everything after. Just so that we know that we have a full team of 15U and we have a full team of 18U,” she said, adding the younger age groups are full with enough players for two or three teams in each age group.
With the season being shortened, Romanow said fees could be prorated, but it depends on what the season entails.
“It all comes down to umpire fees, insurance, diamond rental, things like that. If we can’t hold games, there’d be no umpire fees. That’s a huge fee of ours,” she explained.
“So what is it going to look like when you have a ball player at bat, a catcher and an umpire all in that one small space. That may not be a reality anymore. So if we’re not having regulation games, then we don’t have the umpire fees.”
With fewer or no games, insurance and diamond rental would cost less, as well, Romanow added.
“So it definitely will be prorated and figured out so that it’s fair for everybody that’s playing and we can still have a successful year,” she said.
Romanow added, they are prepared to extend the season later into the summer. The season usually ends for most teams in mid-July with provincials. But that may change this year.
Coaches within Dauphin minor baseball were polled to see who would be available June 15 to Aug. 15, for weekday games and practices and no weekends.
“We didn’t want to plan a season and then find out that we don’t have the coaching staff. So we started there first,” Romanow said.
“Now we can move on to making up teams and be ready for go time, if that happens.”
Provincials will also be determined by Baseball Manitoba and will depend on when the season starts and which regions are willing to go into the summer.
“If they don’t have enough participation, obviously, it wouldn’t be fair or feasible to have competitions as far as provincials. And if they do allow us to cross over in our region, then possibly we only go as far as regionals,” Romanow said.
“We’re kind of prepared for anything and everything. You still want to have that level of competition for the kids and you want them to be able to practice, because we don’t want them to lose a whole year of baseball. Because every year, every player grows in some way. Their skill level grows and you need to have that year of growth or everybody is set back that whole season.”
When asked is she was looking forward the season finally getting underway, Romanow had an simple response.
“Yes,” she said with enthusiasm.
“I would do anything to sit in my lawn chair with a bag of sunflower seeds and just watch a game. That is going to be a good day when that happens.”

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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