The Western Canadian Baseball League Board of Governors voted unanimously to cancel the 2020 WCBL season, the league announced in a statement on Wednesday.
This difficult decision was based on the board’s number one concern, the health and safety of everyone involved.
Following the federal, provincial and municipal government health guidelines and medical recommendations, the league determined it would be impossible to guarantee the safety of the players, coaches, umpires, host families, staff, volunteers and fans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league faced a variety of problems and looked at all options before coming to the decision to cancel the season. Pushing back the start date of the season until July 4, or playing only with Canadian players to prevail over border issues, were a couple of the options explored before cancelling.
With the federal government announcing that the border will remain closed until at least June 22, and that people must self-isolate for 14 days once they cross the border, the teams would not have enough time to carry out a season.
The gathering size and physical distancing were also major factors. Some provinces had gatherings limited to 50 people, while others have a limit of 30 for outdoor activities, teams would have serious challenges trying to get fans out to the stadiums.
Physical distancing would be a challenge in the clubhouses and especially on team buses that must be used for travel purposes. The league even explored the option of reducing ball park capacities to allow for better physical distancing, and by operating with temperature checks and masks.
Unfortunately, the team franchises will not be able to adjust to the economic impact of such restrictions due to the reality that the teams rely mainly on park-generated revenues plus the community initiatives to fund team operations.
The league and its teams, including the Weyburn Senior Beavers, thanked all of the players who signed on to play baseball in the WCBL this season.
Their commitment and perseverance to play baseball this summer did not go unnoticed.
“It is heart-breaking that we will have to go a summer without baseball in the WCBL, and we feel for players whose college careers have been shortened by these unprecedented circumstances,” said the league statement.
“To the fans and communities, thank you very much for the continued support through these unprecedented times. Our fans make WCBL stadiums a special place to play for the players during the summer, giving them a chance to play in front of thousands of people in Alberta and Saskatchewan,” added the statement.
The league said they have plans to stay relevant and connected until the teams can get back on the field.
“With no baseball this summer, teams will need community support now more than ever as they shift to survive this crisis,” said the statement.
The league also added their gratitude to all of the volunteers and sponsors for their support, and promise to be better than ever in 2021.