BABA pulls plug on 75th season
Vote taken at annual meeting
By Greg Seubert
Concerns over COVID-19 have had a rippling effect this year on the sport of baseball.
That includes the Badger Amateur Baseball Association.
The organization held its annual meeting June 1 in Scandinavia and decided to scrap the 2020 season, which affects 25 teams in four divisions.
It would have been the association’s 75th season, according to commissioner Craig Brei.
“It’s pretty tough for us to start with no Minor League and no Major League baseball going,” he said. “It just goes on and on. They’re working on getting Little League right now in Bowler and Tigerton, but some of the parents are not letting their kids go.”
The 25 BABA teams include the South-Central Division (Waupaca, Scandinavia, Weymont, New London, Plover and Green Lake); West Division (Little Falls, Tigerton, Caroline, Leopolis, Bowler and Tilleda); East Division (Clintonville, Marion, Shawano, Gresham, Menominee and Neopit); and North Division (Elderon, Wittenberg, Birnamwood, Aniwa, Hatley, Eland and Polar).
The East and West divisions decided prior to the meeting that they would not participate in a 2020 season.
Factors in BABA decision
• The number of COVID-19 cases in the seven counties with BABA teams continues to rise weekly.
• Several teams are not allowed to play on their home field because of restrictions where the parks are located.
• The ability to follow each county’s health guidelines responsibly and implementing and controlling those guidelines, including social distancing of players and fans.
• Concern for the health of fans, workers and players.
• The need to self-quarantine for 14 days if someone on either team would test positive, including any fans the player had contact with.
• Concern for the well-being of families of players, especially if someone at home has health issues.
• The inability to play a full season to gain a true Grand Champion.
“We listened to everybody’s points of view and the vote was unanimous that we end the season,” Brei said. “We have five teams that are still looking to try and play ball, maybe lock up with the Dairyland (League) or get some exhibition games.”
Those teams are Waupaca, Weymont, New London, Polar and Shawano.
Brei said he wasn’t surprised by the vote.
“I more or less knew the outcome from doing the research, sending the emails out, getting the responses and having conservations with the managers,” he said. “It was not a surprise at all.”
Team manager in self-quarantine
One team manager is currently under self-quarantine for the virus.
“If we had played last Sunday and he would have been there, how many people did he infect in his dugout?” Brei said. “I talked to some health department people and if they have a positive from one of these ballparks, they will have to contact everybody they were in contact with. It can be 1,000 letters and phone calls from one positive.
“Is there a positive test that comes out of this?” he said. “Nobody knows. A lot of our fans are in that 65-plus age. Nobody wants to be responsible for that.”
Brei expects the association to make a big deal out of its 75th season next year.
“The all-star game, the alumni game and the historical display will all be set in the same format,” he said. “We’re trying to do it again in Marion in mid-June in about our sixth week.
“There is some concern if we’re going to have issues with players and teams not coming back next year,” he added. “I really do believe we would have had a bigger issue trying to force them to play this year when they know they shouldn’t. I really don’t think we’re going to have a problem next year and I think everybody’s going to be back and ready to go.”