At least two local Little League teams have suspended their seasons, which should have already begun, among the sweeping outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19. Unsurprisingly, players are upset they cannot play, local Little League presidents said.
“They’re very disappointed,” said Greg Carlson, president of the Bayside Area Little League, which includes Seabrook, Kemah and the east side of League City. “You can only play catch with your dad so much.”
Cody Corley, president of the NASA Area Little League, which includes Clear Lake, Webster and Nassau Bay, agreed.
“They miss their friends,” he said. “The kids are really missing the camaraderie and the community.”
Not all hope is lost, however; both teams have only suspended, not outright canceled, their seasons, and they said they remain optimistic the season will start later in the year—perhaps as early as May 1.
“I think it’s gonna reopen. It just may be an extended season,” Carlson said.
In the meantime, players are throwing balls with their parents and staying in touch via Facebook groups and social media, even making entertaining videos for each other, the presidents said.
“Those are kinda lightening the mood and keeping their spirits up, but I know several kids are down right now,” Carlson said.
When the outbreak started ramping up in early March, Little League advised teams nationwide to make smart decisions and follow recommendations from local governments. Both Bay Area leagues decided to follow the advice of Clear Creek ISD and Harris and Galveston counties by suspending seasons as schools began to close, Carlson and Corley said.
By that point, families had already invested money into preparing fields for play, team jerseys and other expenses. It is too early to tell if families will be refunded because seasons, which should have begun around mid-March, could still resume.
“We have not completely canceled the season and plan only to do that as a last resort,” Corley said. “[We] remain hopeful that we still get to play baseball.”
Clear Creek ISD will not hold in-person classes through at least April 10, but that could soon be extended to April 30 or even longer; on March 30, President Donald Trump extended social distancing guidelines through the end of April.
If the leagues' seasons are eventually canceled, the organizations will do right by those who invested, the presidents said.
While the Bayside organization gets field maintenance help from Harris County, the NASA team is run solely from donations and contributions from participating families. That makes canceling a season fiscally harder on the group, Corley said.
“For us to have to cancel the season is a huge deal financially for us. It’s a big concern of mine right now,” he said.
Those who want to donate to the team can do so at www.store.nasabaseball.com, Corley said.
“We’re gonna pull through. We’ve got a strong group of families in our league,” he added.
Still, the organizations' top concern is safety and the well-being of the players and their families, Corley and Carlson said.
“My biggest concern is ... you really don’t want [the virus] to go rampant through your league and [have] somebody take it home to a loved one,” Carlson said. “I just look forward to playing baseball again.”