The COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled many sports leagues already and now the Western Canadian Baseball League is being forced to deal with the realities of the escalating situation. The collegiate league, which relies heavily on American players, announced a series of dates for the format of the 2020 season.
After a Board meeting on April 5, the WCBL announced that a date of May 2 was set for the final go ahead to occur. They also set provisions for a shortened season to begin on or around Father’s Day (June 21) or on or around Canada Day (July 1).
The 2019 season had started on May 25 with the final regular season game played on August 7. The playoffs concluded on August 17 when Okotoks swept the Regina Red Sox in two games. Regina had eliminated the Swift Current 57’s in three games in the Eastern Division final.
“The Governors have also agreed that if by early June 2020 health and travel restrictions are still such that the League cannot confirm a start date that the season would be cancelled,” said the statement.
The WCBL also acknowledged that due to logistical differences in the league communities, that franchises may have to take an emergency leave of absence due to the pandemic.
“All decisions that the League makes will be in the best interest for players, coaches, staff, officials, and fans. While we are eager to bring baseball back to each community, we know we must do this only with government and health authority consent. We know baseball will return to the playing field in the coming months and look forward to the games resuming. In the meantime, we once again thank you for your past, current, and future support of the WCBL and wish everyone the best during this unique and trying time.”
The statement concluded by noting that an update would be announced on or around April 20.