Through the power of video conferencing on Facebook, I watched an informative webinar yesterday afternoon presented by Little League®. On the official Facebook page of Little League® (@littleleague), several key members of the operations and safety divisions spoke at length about how to resume season play in the coming weeks. The video included moderated dialogue along with a PowerPoint presentation, all centered around how to safely resume baseball operations for youth baseball.
One of the coolest things about the webinar was reading the names who had joined in to watch the video. Proud coaches, concerned parents, league administrators from CA, CT, NJ, NY, ME, TX, AZ, RI all chimed in. “Hello from TX,” “Who is playing in NJ?” “Hi from California.” That was really interesting to see and read all the names and leagues and places that are so eager to resume their 2020 baseball operations. Baseball really is a connecting force that stretches not only from state border to border, but all over the United States of America!!!
I took some notes as I was listening. Here are some points in the video that stood out to me:
- A tip of the cap post game is recommended to replace the post game handshake. Teams typically line up at the conclusion of the game, shake hands with the other team, the other coaches. It is a tradition sign of sportsmanship on so many levels of sports, including baseball. This season, it is recommended to just tip your cap to your opponent.
- No water coolers in the dugouts. Bring your own water bottle and do not share your water bottle with another teammate.
- No sunflower seeds, no spitting, no gum – helps reduce the cleanup post game. This includes the dugouts and the playing field. This will be a tough one to enforce, as kids of all ages love chewing gun and sunflower seeds while playing baseball.
- Social distancing during pre-game conferences. Limit the coaches who are involved in these meetings. If your league plays regularly on a specific field, perhaps do a virtual pre-game conference. If you are playing inter-league games, the pre-game meeting should be limited to just coaches, no players.
- Home plate umpires are encouraged to call balls and strikes from behind Pitcher’s mound or circle. The umpires should wear a face covering throughout the game.
- Concession stands are not permitted to open. No sales of food or beverages are to be allowed at this point. Players, fans, parents are encouraged to bring their own water, food, snacks, etc.
- Rotate game balls throughout the game, recommendation is every 2 innings. Limit the number of people actually touching the baseballs, especially foul balls. Fans who would normally go and get a foul ball should not get involved. Only the players in the game should retrieve the baseballs if they are hit foul.
- All managers, coaches, volunteers, and players should wear a face covering where social distancing is an issue. Players are not required to wear a mask on the field of play, but may elect to wear on if they choose to or if their family would like them to wear one.
There is a ton of great information for league administrators, parents, and players to review on this video. Here is the link: