Youth baseball

Bryan youth baseball players compete in a game during June 2019.

The atmosphere will be a little different around the ballfields of Recreation Park this summer, as Bryan’s baseball and softball youth leagues work to make sports happen and follow the guidelines placed forth by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

The guidelines come in the midst of the global coronavirus outbreak, and while it will take a lot of work and effort, Bryan Baseball Association President Ryan Miller said the city still sees the importance of providing baseball to the area’s youth.

“We’ve had a lot of talks about it,” Miller said. “And the bottom line is we will comply with every guideline the governor has set forth. I met with (Mayor) Carrie Schlade and Ben Dominique from the parks, and we’re going to work with the guidance from the health department, the mayor and the parks to do everything that we need to do to safely provide baseball for these kids.”

Miller said several changes and plans have already been made for this summer. Of note, he said dugouts will be extended down the baseline toward the foul pole with sections marked off to space each kid six feet apart.

In addition, concessions will not be sold, parents won’t bring post-game snacks to the game, and start times of games will be spaced out enough so fans and athletes of one game can leave before fans and athletes of the next game arrive.

The outfield mesh will stay in storage this summer, too, so fans and parents can spread out and watch games from the outfield.

Enough helmets and baseballs have been ordered for each team, and for items that need to be used multiple times — such as catcher’s gear — the appropriate sanitation equipment has been purchased.

Games will also only use one umpire.

Bryan’s summer season starts June 8. Teams will have two games and one practice a week for five weeks, with a postseason week culminating July 13.

“It’s going to be extra work, there’s no doubt about it,” Miller said. “But we hope parents and coaches and families will help support us in this.”

“We are going to work hard,” Miller went on to say. “We’ll have guidelines released, and we’re also going to have coach’s meetings and clinics, and we’ll communicate with parents throughout the season. ... Even though it’s more work, it’s worth it for the kids.”

The official mandatory baseball and softball guidelines which Gov. DeWine laid out include the following:

Arrival to venue

• All participants, spectators, and employees must adhere to six-foot physical distancing while at the facility/course.

•Must conduct daily symptom assessments by coaches and players (self-evaluation). Anyone experiencing symptoms must stay home.

•No team water coolers or shared drinking stations.

• Compliant game balls must be designated to each team for use while that team is playing defense.

•Prior to competitive tournaments, event owners must alert the local health department of the event.

•These requirements must be shared prior to the event with all players, coaches, spectators, officials, and employees prior to their arrival at the venue.

Practice

• Coaches and players must adhere to physical six-foot distancing except when the ball is in play.

• Coaches must wear face coverings at all times.

• Athletes must wear face coverings at all times while not actively participating in the field of play.

• Must conduct daily symptom assessments by coaches and players (self-evaluation). Anyone experiencing symptoms must stay home.

• No team water coolers or shared drinking stations.

Athletes

• Must adhere to six foot social distancing practices off the field of play.

• Must wear face coverings at all times when not actively participating in the field of play.

•Must conduct daily symptom assessments by coaches and players (self-evaluation). Anyone experiencing symptoms must stay home.

• Must not share water or equipment. Belongings should be used only by the individual owner or operator including, but not limited to water bottles, gloves, bats, hats, and other on- and off-field gear.

• No touch rule – players should refrain from high fives, handshake lines, and other physical contact with teammates, opposing players, coaches, umpires, and fans. A “tip the cap” can be used following the game in lieu of the handshake line.

• No spitting or eating seeds, gum, other similar products.

Spectators

• Must adhere to six foot social distancing practices. This includes in and around bleachers for anyone not in the same family.

• Must conduct daily symptom assessments (self-evaluation). Anyone experiencing symptoms must stay home.

• Must not enter player areas (on the field of play or bench areas).

• Must keep six-feet or more distance from the backstop.

Coaches

• Must adhere to six-foot social distancing practices.

• Must wear face coverings at all times.

• Must conduct daily symptom assessments by coaches and players (self-evaluation). Anyone experiencing symptoms must stay home.

• No spitting or eating seeds, gum, or other similar products.

• No touch rule – coaches should refrain from high fives, handshake lines, and other physical contact with teammates, opposing players, coaches, umpires, and fans. A “tip the cap” can be used following the game in lieu of the handshake line.

• Must ensure that players are following COVID-19 -related prevention measures included herein.

Umpires/Officials

• Must adhere to six-foot social distancing practices when interacting with players, coaches, and spectators off the field of play.

• Must conduct daily symptom assessments (self-evaluation). Anyone experiencing symptoms must stay home.

• Must wear face coverings at all times.

• Must avoid exchanging documents or equipment with players, coaches, or spectators.

Leaving the venue

• Individuals should not congregate in common areas or parking lot following the event or practice

• Umpires should adhere to social distancing practices when interacting with players, coaches, and spectators off the field of play.

• Individuals should not exchange items.

Confirmed cases

• Immediately isolate and seek medical care for any individual who develops symptoms.

• Contact the local health district about suspected cases or exposure.

• Organizer must maintain a complete list of coaches, players, and employees present at each event to include the date, beginning and ending time of the event, plus name, address, and phone contact to be made available upon request from local health district.

Baseball and softball guidelines courtesy of coronavirus.ohio.gov

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