There might be no crying in baseball, but there were plenty of disappointed Little Leaguers last week following the cancellation of Livermore’s post-season tournaments and World Series play due to coronavirus restrictions.
On April 30, Little League headquarters announced the suspension of all seven Little League Baseball and Softball World Series events for 2020.
“This is a heartbreaking decision for everyone at Little League International, but more so for those millions of Little Leaguers who have dreamt of one day playing in one of our seven World Series events,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League CEO and president. “After exhausting all possible options, we came to the conclusion that because of the significant public health uncertainty that will still exist several months from now … it will not be possible to proceed with our tournaments as we’ve hosted them for nearly 75 years.”
Although Livermore’s regular season was suspended in March with the issuance of shelter-in-place orders, local team directors had hoped the race for Cooperstown glory might survive.
"(It was) a very difficult decision, but Little League in consultation with the CDC, state health officers and governors offices, concluded that holding these events would be very difficult,” said Dave Wetmore, Livermore Little League Baseball Intermediate World Series director.
There are 82 regional Little League tournaments around the world that determine the final seven world series teams and participants. Ensuring the safety of those traveling to various locations while securing the proper visas, accommodations and other essentials, proved too large an obstacle during the pandemic.
“Delivering this news comes with a very heavy heart. We have never had to cancel our World Series tournaments, but, right now, as our world comes together, we must do everything we can to help stem the spread of this deadly virus,” said Hugh E. Tanner, Little League International Board of Directors chairman. “While we take this pause from the World Series and Regional Tournaments this summer, we are committed to working with our volunteers and staff to continue to provide an unparalleled youth sports experience to all children and be back stronger than ever in 2021.”
For Livermore’s baseball community, it has been a challenging few seasons.
“The last two years have been so tough on these volunteers and players,” Wetmore said. “In 2019 almost half the season was rained out … and this year, I think they got in about two weeks (before the shelter-in-place orders.)”
According to Wetmore, Livermore Little League is working to secure refunds for families for the 2020 season and are hopeful 2021 will see the restoration of America’s Pastime.
“We are looking forward to returning to Livermore in the summer of 2021, and our locals hope that once allowed back on the baseball fields our families will once again enjoy our parks and games,” he said.
For more information, visit www.littleleague.org.