The sounds of America’s favorite pastime are hushed this year in Seguin.
The baseball diamonds in Starcke Park will remain empty as Seguin Little League has decided to cancel its spring season.
Just as the Little League season was set to swing into action, the coronavirus came in and shut everything down.
The decision came after the board received guidance from the state and Little League International on how to move forward, if they decided to play ball.
“It wasn’t an easy call,” Seguin Little League Board President Jason Harrison said. “We wanted to play ball. We wanted to have a season for the teams. As a board we have to think about more than just Seguin Little League, our kids, our teams, we have to think about the whole community of Seguin and keep everybody safe. It is not just about us, it is the bigger picture. It is about everybody, our whole community.”
If the local organization had decided to host a summer session, the rules and regulations that were handed down from both the state and Little League International would have taken fun out of the game, Harrison said.
“It just made more sense to cancel the spring season because of all of the things we were going to have to do,” he said. “It just wouldn’t have been baseball and softball, and most of our kids, coaches and parents knew it.”
Among the guidelines were social distancing the kids in the dugout, no high-fives, hugs or fist bumps; players would not be able to take in their equipment. Additionally, after each game completed, the complex would need to be cleared out before the next teams and round of families would be able to come in, a limit of one person in the restrooms and no concessions, Harrison said.
“We don’t have the manpower or personnel or equipment to check everybody and police everybody,” he said. “The fields get packed. You’ve got moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles that come out to watch the kids play. It would have been real tough to try and do all of this.”
In their decision to cancel the season, the board also opted to give parents a partial refund or credit toward the next season from the non-refundable registration fees that were already paid.
Parents were given the option of a partial refund of $40, or $45 credit toward fall ball registration fees or the 2021 spring registration fees.
The board understands that these are unprecedented times, however a full refund isn’t feasible for the organization, Harrison said.
“We are a nonprofit that relies on entry fees, sponsorships and concessions,” he said. “We had bills upfront that needed to be paid. At the end of the day, we can’t refund all of the money.”
He said the money that is spent prior to the season starting includes expenses for uniforms for each of the players — jersey, patch, hat or socks — Little League Charter fees, insurance fees, advertising expenses, costs to print applications and materials and replacing outdated equipment.
“We did have and we do have expenses that we have to pay for and that comes out of the registration fee,” Harrison said. “Yes, the fields are owned by the city, they cut the grass, but everything else that is done at the complex is done by Seguin Little League and the board. We have to fund all of those projects.”
Business and individual sponsorships help, but don’t cover all of the costs, Harrison said.
The refund comes from the costs the organization could have incurred during the season and into the post season, Harrison said.
“Little League International canceled the World Series and the All-Star tournaments,” he said. “The money that we’re refunding is money that we would have spent during the seasons. We felt the values we put on our refunds and our credits were fair because we had incurred expenses upfront that we had to pay and this is what was left over for us to pay back.”