Kids won’t play ball this summer in Nogales – at least not under the auspices of Little League – after the organization’s board called off the season earlier this week.
At the Nogales City Council’s June 3 meeting, Councilman Jorge Maldonado, who is also on the board of the Nogales National Little League, said the season had been cancelled the previous day.
Little League baseball is the latest casualty of a crisis that’s shuttered businesses, schools and halted professional sports seasons.
Maldonado previously told the NI that the national Little League organization had issued guidelines for safe play in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but left it up to individual leagues to decide whether or not to play games this year.
He didn’t say exactly what was behind the decision to cancel the season in Nogales, but noted at Wednesday’s council meeting that it would have been complicated to follow all safety guidelines.
“Each kid had to have a helmet, umpires had to be six feet away from the pitcher’s mound,” he said. “The older kids, there was going to be no tagging at first, because the first baseman couldn’t be at the base to get the ball from the pitcher to tag them out. There were so many rules and changes.”
The season was set to start in early April, but was postponed shortly before Opening Day. As recently as two weeks ago, Maldonado was “still hoping we can get some baseball in Nogales.”
More than 400 boys and girls were set to play in different softball and baseball leagues this year, according to Nogales National Little League treasurer Priscilla Lechuga
Little League parents have written to Maldonado and also asked the NI about whether the league would give refunds for the season. Maldonado didn’t say anything about refunds on Wednesday, but did mention the issue at a May 6 council meeting.
He said that some money was already spent – the league purchased uniforms, baseballs and equipment before the season was suspended – but insisted that any refunds would be determined by the national organization. “It’s not up to us,” he said.