CAPE COD, Mass. — The Cape Cod Baseball League’s 2020 season has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, according to the league’s president. It would have been their 135th season.
According to Chuck Sturtevant, the decision, albeit disappointing, was voted on unanimously by the executive committee, which raised concerns about the health and safety of coaches and players.
“It’s devastating. I’ve been in it 34 years. We have never had a delay or canceled season, so it’s significant,” Sturtevanttold Boston 25 News on Saturday over Zoom.
Sturtevant said that during a typical summer night, games draw crowds of 1,500 people or more. With current social distancing measures in place, it would have been impossible to safely seat guests on the sidelines.
“It was the hardest the decision that all of us had to make, but I believe in my heart that it was the right decision and we just have to go forward to have a better league next year,” he said.
The Cape Cod Baseball League consists of 10 teams from Wareham to Orleans and features some of the most talented collegiate baseball players in the country. Sturtevant added that one out of every five professional baseball players has competed in the league, which is also known to draw MLB scouts.
“It’s a tough situation because college seasons are canceled, so they were looking forward to this opportunity to show what they can do in front of the scouts. I mean most games have between 10-12 scouts every game.”
It takes about $2.5 million dollars per year to run the league, with $107,000 of that money coming from MLB contributions, according to Sturtevant. The league relies heavily on sponsors and donations from fans.
Roughly 300 players compete in the Cape Cod Baseball League, with friends and family often coming to watch and make the event a vacation. With tourism numbers already down, Sturtevant warned the cancellation could be yet another economic hit for the Cape.
“When we bring these crowds of families and friends that come up to see their boys play in the league and so on, they stay two or three weeks. They rent houses and they’re here, so they utilize their shops, they go shopping and go to the beaches and so on. So right now, I think it’s going to be pretty gruesome for the summer,” Sturtevant said.
Still, he said, there really was no other safe option to continue with the season.
“We really had to weigh all this and say, you know, we need to be the number one leader in summer leagues and make that decision, and that’s what we did,” he said.
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