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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Another Casualty of COVID-19

This afternoon it was announced that American Legion Baseball in the state of Oregon has been canceled for the 2020 season.

Many of you are disappointed to hear this information. I am as well. I'm disappointed that many young men will not be able to show off their skills during the summer, as they were not able to play high school and, in some cases, college baseball in 2020 because of the canceling of all spring high school and collegiate sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision was made at the national level, which, after all was said and done, led Oregon to cancel the season.

Earlier the National American Legion baseball committee had canceled all of the regional tournaments, including the Northwest Regionals which was to have been held in Gillette, Wyoming and the American Legion World Series in Shelby, North Carolina. Both tournaments were scheduled for the month of August.

The Oregon American Legion Baseball state tournament was to have been held at Bill Gray Stadium at One Champion Car Wash Field (formerly Legion Field) on newly-installed field turf in Roseburg at the end of July.

However, the only alternative for players could be playing for their respective teams and play an independent schedule. There's a matter of liability insurance and these days, availability of stadiums to play their games at as many of the American Legion baseball teams in Oregon play its home games at high school and college baseball stadiums.

Where I live, the teams from Eugene, Springfield and Medford play home games at high school fields. Medford no longer has Harry & David Field as its team wasn't able to agree on a lease agreement. The defending Area 4 champion Eugene Challengers play at North Eugene High School's Swede Johnson Stadium, while the Springfield Timbers (formerly the Willamette Valley Titans) call Hamlin Middle School's field home (Springfield High School plays home games there during the spring). The six-time defending American Legion baseball state champion Medford Mustangs now call North Medford High School's Jim McAbee Field home.

It will be a tough summer without American Legion baseball. It's a great level of baseball that only a select few make the cut and get to participate in. It will also be a tough summer for the kids who may be too old to play next summer.

Many Legion baseball players later in their careers play college baseball. Some are or will be playing NCAA Division I baseball and American Legion baseball had helped them improve in their abilities to play a great game. We as fans will probably have to wait until 2021 to watch these talented players grow and perform at whatever the level they will continue their careers at.

Let's hope for a best case scenario to be able to watch some outstanding amateur summer baseball. But be prepared to sit this season out. Unfortunately.

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