Officials creating plan to get youth baseball and softball back on the diamond this summer
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Gopher State Baseball, Metro Baseball League and Minnesota Softball have created guidelines to make play safe for the more than 40,000 kids who play.
"We've had people say, 'I don't care if it's a one-game season, we want our kids to play this year,'" said Kim Eul with Metro Baseball League.
Things like social distancing in the dugout and entering and exiting ballparks through specific gates are part of the guidelines. As for equipment…
"Each team would be responsible for their own baseball or softball in the field and they would be the ones responsible for disinfecting that throughout the inning or in between each inning," said Minnesota Youth Athletic Services Executive Director Dawson Blanck.
Gopher State Baseball is part of MYAS.
"Catchers, they would be responsible for disinfecting their gear, if there was any contact with a player from the opposing team just a quick wipe down so that we are taking care of all that," said Eul.
"We feel like we're a little bit different than the typical organization or business because they are indoors, but we're not, we are outdoors, we're socially distanced and where we're not we're willing to mitigate and come up with creative rules and scenarios to keep our space apart," said Dan Pfeffer with USA and Minnesota Softball.
It doesn't mean this group wouldn't support other sports and activities.
"We are all advocates for activities for adults and youth, we're going to get behind any other sport and help get them back on the field, court, whatever, I mean, it's just what we do," Pfeffer added.
The collaboration is something this group feels could help them both now and down the road.
"We knew it was in the best interests of our stakeholders, all of the participants, all of the parent associations, that we come together and create this unified voice," Blanck added.
Rick Frommeyer is a parent and coach of an 11-year-old.
"I think this is a way to at least return some normalcy in a safe way where you can have that physical distancing or social distancing and do it in a safe way," he said.
The phased-in approach would build up gradually from practice to games to tournaments.
The group has sent its new guidelines to the governor's office and is awaiting a response.
"I have no concern with my son playing baseball assuming that we have the guidelines and that everybody is following the guidelines," Frommeyer said.