On May 27th, the Manitowoc County Youth Sports (MCYS) Board met to decide the 2020 baseball and softball season for Manitowoc County. By a vote of 8-5 the board voted to proceed with a season running for six weeks starting July 6th. MCYS then created guidelines to be followed by all participating communities.
Being aware that there are various opinions on the safety of proceeding with a season, MCYS opened up the decision on the safety and feasibility of a season to each individual community.
On May 28th, the Branch Baseball and Softball Organization (BBASO) Committee met to discuss the options for Branch this summer. First and foremost, all of the committee members recognize that our primary responsibility is for the safety and wellbeing of our players, volunteers, fans, and community as a whole. As such, the committee voted 5-0 to NOT have Branch participate in youth baseball and softball this summer. While each of us understands the importance of youth sports in our community, we felt that it was the socially responsible decision to do our part in this pandemic by limiting the chance that anyone in our community would be exposed to COVID-19.
We also discussed the guidelines which were developed by MCYS, which I have attached to this email. Our committee determined that the guidelines would be extremely challenging to maintain with any consistency, let alone enforce. While consideration was given to the feasibility of these guidelines - our decision was primarily on the basis of protecting the safety and well being of our community, not only at our park, but also at the various communities where our teams travel to play.
For those of you who may disagree with our decision and feel we are being too conservative, we would only ask you to remember that while each parent/guardian is free to decide what risks might be acceptable for his/her own child, our committee and organization does not have that liberty.
So where do we go from here? First, Branch Baseball and Softball is not going anywhere - we are still an active organization whose primary goal is to provide a safe environment for kids to play baseball and softball. We have ongoing projects at our facility, including working towards getting lights installed on Diamond 2 and an Eagle Scout project building dugouts on Diamond 2.
If you are still interested in having your child play baseball/softball, we would be more than happy to help you get in contact with other communities in the county or the city league. MCYS gave communities until June 4th to get team information submitted. The city registration ends May 31st per their website.
We will begin processing refunds in the next week. Rather then ask each of you if you want a refund, please email back to this address if you DO NOT want a refund - though our organization is financially stable, we would appreciate anyone who chooses for us to keep registration and fundraising fees so we can continue to build our program.
For those of you who may choose to have your child play elsewhere, we would be more than happy to have your son or daughter back next year. We are hoping to again start in late winter in the batting cages as we did this year.
Thank you all for your time and patience. The Branch Committee does not take this decision lightly, as we all very much enjoy seeing our park filled with the smiling faces of kids playing baseball and softball. Unfortunately, we do not see anyway possible for us to provide a safe environment by our standards to play this summer.
Again, please email us if you would like help getting in touch with other communities and/or if you DO NOT want a refund of registration/fundraising fees.
Branch Baseball and Softball Committee