Some sports leagues welcome back players while others cancel another season

The Bradford Minor Baseball Association is getting ready to welcome back its house league after cancelling its season last year.

“Everybody has been eager to get back out so the phones, the emails have been going off the hook,” said John McBeth, president of the association.

Ontario gave the green light to non-contact outdoor sports under Step 2 of the province’s reopening plan.

“The push for us was about the kids. We want them to enjoy somewhat of a normal summer and get them back to playing baseball,” said McBeth.

But like everything else, health measures are still in place.

“Precautions that we’ve been used to for the past year and a half are applicable to the baseball diamond, so making sure proper hygiene, social distancing and mask-wearing when needed will keep the kids safe,” said McBeth.

Still, McBeth says some of its divisions, teams, and players decided to sit this season out.

“Pre-COVID we were over 500 and with COVID and the uncertainty we are down to about 350 and this is between our house and our rep program so we have seen a decline,” McBeth said.

Other sports organizations like the Orillia and District Soccer Club have also cancelled its house league season for the second year in a row.

“We feel that it’s too risky and too difficult to bring the younger children together to play with all the rules and social distancing that’s going on,” said John Copp, Orillia District and Soccer Club spokesperson.

With spectators limited to 25 per cent, Copp says some parents wouldn’t be able to attend.

He added there are too many unknowns and changing variables with the reopening framework.

“For the younger age groups, there is some disappointment, but we are very optimistic about 2022,” Copp said.

For now, the organization is welcoming back its higher-level competitive players, hoping to start games once the province enters Step 3.

As for baseball, the association says it’s also hoping to start regular-season games at the end of the month, finishing the season by September.

McBeth says the province also gave the go-ahead to its competitive league to host a tournament at the end of the month.