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York-Adams American Legion baseball season is latest victim of coronavirus pandemic

STEVE HEISER
717-505-5446/@ydsports
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  • The 2020 American Legion baseball season has been canceled.
  • The York-Adams American Legion season was slated to start in late May.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of American Legion made the decision to cancel.

The American Legion baseball season is the latest victim of the coronavrius pandemic.

The decision to cancel the season was made Monday by Robert E. John, who is the Pennsylvania American Legion department commander. The cancellation applies to both senior and junior legion teams. The age range for Legion players is 13-19.

Last week, the Legion World Series, state and regional tournaments were canceled, leaving each state to decide what options it wanted to take in regard to having a regular season.

With the high school and college baseball seasons wiped out because of the spread of the coronavirus, there was a glimmer of hope for baseball players across the state that Legion baseball would be played in some form.

Those hopes were dashed Monday. That means there will be no York-Adams Legion season this year.

The move did not surprise Rich Day, who is in his third year as the president of the local Legion league.

"I knew we were in jeopardy as soon as the schools canceled for the rest of the year," Day said. "The schools are the foundation of where we play our games."

Most Y-A Legion teams play their games on high school fields. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced last week that the state's schools would remain closed through the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic school year. That decision almost certainly meant that high school fields would not be available for Legion use, at least for the beginning of the season and likely for the entire summer.

Before the cancellation, Day said he expected to Y-A Legion League to have 14-16 teams competing this season, which was slated to start the week before Memorial Day.

Day said a final league schedule had not yet been finalized because league officials had not met since February because of the social distancing restrictions in place because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Legion baseball, which as been around for nearly a century, has struggled to attract teams and players in recent seasons, with many players opting to compete for travel teams or work summer jobs, but Day is still hopeful that the local league will return in 20201.

"I want to be as positive as I can," Day said when asked about the local league's future. "I would absolutely expect us to return."

He did admit, however, that "every year is a little shaky."

Some folks would've liked to see the state Legion organization wait a little longer to pull the plug on the regular season.

“We were in a wait-and-see approach,” said Region 3 director, Jack Purdy, whose region covers the southeastern part of the state. “I would have liked to see them wait a little longer. Jumping in the fire so quickly hurts the kids.”

Purdy said team registration and getting insurance were two more reasons he believes the decision was made so early.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com. Steve Bennett from the (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens Voice contributed to this story through the TNS news site.