MONROE — During the Monroe Parks and Recreation board meeting May 20, Recreation Supervisor Matt Skibba said that summer baseball and softball little leagues have a plan in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Skibba said he put together a plan with guidelines taken from authorities in Minnesota and Wisconsin. He hopes that practices can begin June 8 and games as early as June 22. However, he said no dates are set in stone, with area towns anticipating starting after July 4.
“It’s tough because at this point, so much is still up in the air and I truly don’t know what to expect,” he said.
The junior and senior softball leagues and the National baseball league have been a part of traveling leagues in recent years, and he is waiting for information from opposing teams in Brodhead and Albany to decide if that will continue. Skibba said that if Monroe had just four teams and had to play amongst themselves, then that would be an option.
“My goal is to try to offer any type of season I can, even if that means Monroe-only teams with no travel,” Skibba said.
Other rules would be for players to bring their own glove, helmet and batting gloves. Umpires would call balls and strikes from behind the pitcher’s mound instead of behind home plate to allow for more social distancing. There would be sanitation stations at each dugout for players hands, and items like catcher’s gear and bats would need to be sanitized. There would be no high-fiving, fist-bumping, spitting or fans in the stands. That means no sunflower seeds, a popular snack for baseball and softball players.
Skibba said that despite the health crisis, the number of players signed up are not that far below normal. He said that there are about 175 players signed up for the softball programs, and another 200 for baseball.
“The demand is there, which is good. That’s about 50 less people total than last year,” Skibba told the board.
Skibba also said the Lassie League Softball and Minor League Baseball leagues are looking to push its date back and would also have changes to the practice structure.