I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. An international baseball tournament taking place during a global pandemic with travel restrictions in place was never going to work.
After a thorough assessment of the impact the devastating COVID-19 pandemic has had on 6,500 community-based Little League® programs in 84 countries and based upon the direction of governmental and public health authorities, and in consultation with medical professionals and our Board of Directors, Little League International has made the difficult and disappointing decision to cancel its seven World Series tournaments and their respective regional qualifying events.
“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 President and CEO. “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, and with direction from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, as well as senior public health officials and government leaders from locations where our other six World Series are held, as well as the their qualifying regional tournaments, it will not be possible to proceed with our tournaments as we’ve hosted them for nearly 75 years.”
As we assessed the feasibility of including these tournament opportunities as part of that resumption of play, a number of factors went into the decision to cancel the World Series and Regional Tournaments, including:
-The inability to play qualifying tournaments in many of our U.S. and International regions, coupled with direction from federal officials regarding the complexity of international travel restrictions and immigration requirements.
-An indication from teams from around the globe that they will be unable to participate or travel to these tournaments.
-The testing and mitigation protocols that would need to be in place at these significant public events should an individual participating or attending an event be diagnosed with COVID-19.
To assist programs at the local level, officials will be crediting all chartered programs to the tune of $1.2 million dollars.
The Little League World Series is fun. A slice of Americana, if you will, which was also a good album by The Offspring. Williamsport becomes the center of the baseball world every summer, which results in a lot of cool stories being told, a lot of viral moments like that chubby kid telling everybody that he hits dingers.
Bummer that the children and their families won’t get this experience in 2020.