In lockstep with most professional and amateur sports leagues across the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota American Legion has decided to suspend the state’s baseball season through May 9 following a three-hour virtual meeting of its 14 board members Saturday.
Temporarily suspending Legion play means that teams can not hold tryouts, organize practices or take part in any games.
Minnesota’s Legion also canceled its annual district and state conventions as well as various youth programs throughout the summer.
These decisions come less than a week after the American Legion canceled its World Series scheduled to be held in Shelby, N.C. along with all eight of its regional tournaments. Board members will reconvene in another board meeting May 9 and review the status of its season.
“The board felt pretty strongly about not jumping to a conclusion and making a decision right now,” Minnesota Legion baseball vice director Brandon Raymo said. “We had talked in the previous weeks leading up that we want to do whatever we can to safely have a season if possible.”
Regarding tournaments at the national level, organizers have to weigh in television contracts, travel and lodging accommodations while protecting the health and safety of players, fans and contributors,likely prompting the swift decision to cancel. Those items are less of an issue at the state level.
But what likely has the greater influence are any further directives given out by Gov. Tim Walz, who has ordered Minnesotans to stay at home until May 4.
“The most likely outcome is that President Trump and/or Gov. Walz, with advice of their medical advisers will be determining the fate of all sports on when it's safe to resume play both in the amateur ranks as well as professional,” Minnesota state baseball director Randy Schaub said in a press release.
Even if the state remains in a wait-and-see pattern leading up to the May 9 meeting, a concrete decision to cancel or play the season may not be reached until later that month. That is contingent on teams paying for insurance premiums. Currently, the deadline for teams to pay for insurance is May 15, but that may be extended to June 1.
Additionally, the board discussed what the season may look like if it does go on. Options included a brief regular season to just simply having a postseason. However, there is no clear direction at this time.
“We won’t know until after May 9 as to where that discussion goes,” Raymo said.
Last season, Excelsior won the Division I American Legion state championship. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton earned the crown in Division II. Hopkins was crowned state champion at the Junior Legion level.
Burnsville is scheduled to host the 95th annual Minnesota state Legion tournament July 30-Aug. 2 in Division I.
The 34th annual Division II Legion state tournament is July 31-Aug. 2 in Sacred Heart.