By Matt Noonan
The Massachusetts adult, amateur, and youth sports world received some exciting news yesterday from Governor Charlie Baker: games and tournaments can begin as soon as next Monday, July 6.
Baker’s announcement sparked excitement for many itching to return to the playing field this summer, including Stephen Lewis, who is the general manager of baseball operations and training at The BASE, a non-profit in Roxbury, Massachusetts, that is currently organizing a team that recently joined the Yawkey Baseball League (YBL).
“We’re really just starting to get guys together,” Lewis explained. “We have had one or two small meetings (already), but the great part about it is all of our guys on the team have known each other for years (through our organization). They will have to shake the rust off and we will try to get in a day or two (of practices before the season begins), but it looks like we’ll pretty much jump into the season (pending when games officially start later this month).”
According to the YBL’s website, the league announced last month that the 2020 season would begin around Monday, July 6, which is the first day of the state’s third phase of its reopening. No schedule has been posted as of this morning, but once games do begin, Lewis is excited about his team’s inaugural season but also confident that his squad will be ready to contend for a league title.
“We’ll see how it all plays out,” Lewis said with a smile. “It is going to be a great experience, and like everyone else, we’re playing to win and have fun at the same time.”
Lewis’ excitement for the upcoming YBL season was echoed by Angelo Colucci, who is on the league’s board but is also the franchise holder for the Stoneham Sabres.
“I am very excited to start up next week,” said Colucci, who noted this will be the tenth year that the Sabres field a team in the YBL.
“All of the guys are excited and itching to start. We know we still have to be cautious and smart, but it is exciting to know that we will be having a season.”
Colucci and the Sabres finished 17-14 last summer while advancing to the league’s postseason. Stoneham’s title run concluded in the semifinals against the Revere Rockies, which went on to win its first-ever YBL crown against the Charlestown Townies.
Jeff Coveney, who is the president of the Boston Men’s Baseball League, also seems ready for baseball games to be played, but did admit that he is “cautiously excited to hit the field again.”
“Hitting phase three means we will get on the diamond by mid-July once we organize schedules and set final Covid-19 guidelines,” Convey explained.
The Boston Men’s Baseball League is a local chapter of the national Men’s Senior Baseball League (MSBL) and Men’s Adult Baseball League (MABL), and features teams from various parts of the state, including Braintree, Cambridge, Malden, Medford, North Andover, and Wellesley.
According to the Boston Men’s Baseball League’s website, coaches and players should know more about the upcoming season next week.
Said Convey, “Our players have been waiting for months to play the game they all love.”
One player that certainly would love to return to the field is Teddy Dziuba, who is the catcher for the Alibrandis Baseball Club in the Intercity Baseball League (ICL). Like most leagues, the ICL has kept both Dziuba and its players updated over the past few weeks and months, and seem hopeful to provide its nine-team league with an eight-game schedule followed by a tournament.
As noted on The ICL website, the earliest games would begin is Monday, July 13.
“We are doing our best to stay optimistic,” said Dziuba, who guided his team to the championship round last August against the Lexington Blue Sox.
As for the Massachusetts Independent Baseball League (MILB), coaches and players seem excited and optimistic for the third phase to begin next week, but know health and safety will be a big part of keeping everyone safe and healthy due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“The MILB is excited about the news that phase three (will begin next Monday),” said Cam Fox, who is one of the co-founders of the league, as well as the senior manager for the Braintree Post 86. “We understand we still have a long way to go regarding health concerns, however, getting players back on the field is great news.
“We will continue to monitor health concerns and safety, which is our first priority, but we cannot wait to play some baseball again.”
In addition to allowing games and tournaments, the third phase of the state’s reopening includes professional sporting events, which means the Boston Red Sox will be able to play home games later this month once Major League Baseball (MLB) begins its 60 game season.
Additionally, fitness centers and health clubs, overnight camps, casinos, movie theatres, museums, and aquariums can also open in phase three. Theatres and performance venues will also be open, beginning with outdoor performances during step one followed by indoor shows in step two.