Massachusetts Updates Its Phase III, Step I Sports & Recreation Protocols

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The state of Massachusetts shifted soccer from a high-risk sport to a moderate risk activity on Friday, July 24. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Earlier this month, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker decided the state was ready to move into the third phase of its reopening, which allowed for games and competitions for some sports to begin under the first step of the protocols, including adult, amateur, and youth baseball.

One sport – soccer – was initially deemed a high-risk activity, but was recently downgraded to the moderate risk category on Friday – we learned of this change earlier today from Matt Feld, who is a reporter for the Boston Herald.

In addition to reclassifying soccer, two other sports – cross-country and individual crew – were downgraded from moderate risk to lower risk.

The latest update of which sports the state considers lower, moderate and higher risk can be found HERE.

As noted in the state’s document for sports and recreational activities in Phase III, Step I, all sports, including lower risk athletics such as tennis, swimming, and horseback riding, must adhere to the ‘type of play’ guidelines in order to successfully compete in both games and practices. The four types of play are listed below:

  • Level 1: Individual or socially distanced group activities (no-contact workouts, aerobic conditioning, individual skill work, and drills)
  • Level 2: Competitive Practices (Intra-team/group games, contact drills, and scrimmages)
  • Level 3: Competitions (Inter-team games, meets, matches, races, etc.)
  • Level 4: Tournaments (Outdoor only)

The news of today’s tweak from Gov. Baker’s office should be viewed as a positive – perhaps it means if high school sports were to occur this fall, these three sports, along with a few others could be allowed to at least practice or participate in some inter-team games. But today’s news does not bode well for football, which remains a high-risk activity, along with wrestling, rugby, basketball, lacrosse, ice hockey, competitive cheerleading, martial arts, and ultimate frisbee

Those that play football at say the high school or youth level in Massachusetts are permitted to participate in either individual or socially distanced group activities.

Daily Noontime: Friday, July 24, 2020

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By NoontimeSports.com 

It’s Friday – yay, we made it!

Welcome to a brand new weekend, which is going to be HOT here in New England, so make sure to drink plenty of water and wear some sunscreen, too.

Let’s kickoff National Drive-Thru Day with a brand new Daily Noontime – let’s go!


Noontime’s Headlines for Friday, July 24, 2020 

  • Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees began their 60-game sprint with a 4-1 win last night over the Washington Nationals.

    Judge recorded a pair of hits in the “rain-shortened” game last night – once again, he will be a player to watch over the next few weeks and months.

  • Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers commenced their 60-game season last night with a convincing 8-1 win over the San Francisco Giants. Remember when Mookie played for the Boston Red Sox?
  • In case you missed it, the Independent School League (ISL) announced yesterday that they will not be playing many games this fall due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

    According to Danny Ventura of the Boston Herald, the ISL will not have championships this fall nor dish out awards. The league does, however, hope to provide some competition this fall, pending it is safe to do so.

  • Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will toss the ceremonial first pitch this evening before the Boston Red Soxplay their initial game of the 2020 season against the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Speaking of the Red Sox, here are a few storylines to follow this season – well, more these next few weeks and months.

Daily Noontime: Monday, July 6, 2020

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By NoontimeSports.com

Happy Monday, everyone!

We hope everyone had a wonderful weekend while celebrating America’s birthday safely. Did you enjoy a hot dog and hamburger this weekend?

Let’s kick-off a brand new week – well, technically the start of phase three here in Massachusetts – with the ‘Daily Noontime’ for Monday, July 6, 2020.

Have a great day, everyone, and remember to stay safe and healthy, too!


Noontime’s Headlines for Monday, July 6, 2020

Mass. Baseball Teams Eager To Return To The Field In Phase Three

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A slew of local Massachusetts adult, amateur, and youth sports leagues, including members of the Intercity Baseball League (ICL) are eager for games to start in Massachuset

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. 

There Will Be Baseball In Massachusetts in July

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Baseball will be returning to Fenway Park in July without any fans. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

For those craving some baseball in Massachusetts, you are in luck.

As of next month, fans of America’s pastime will be treated to a slew of local games, including some Boston Red Sox contests, which will begin at the end of July.

As of now, the 2020 Major League Baseball (MLB) season – a 60 game season, to be exact – will commence for some teams on Thursday, July 23 while others will begin their quest for a World Series crown on Friday, July 24.

In addition to the Red Sox, we learned earlier this week that the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) will play an abbreviated season, beginning Thursday, July 2. Four of the league’s six teams play home games in Massachusetts. 

The four FCBL teams – Brockton RoxNorth Shore NavigatorsWestfield Starfires, and Worcester Bravehearts – are currently scheduled to host a few games this summer with some fans in the stands. However, those current home dates could be canceled or pushed back due to the state’s ongoing reopening with the coronavirus. Games and scrimmages are not permitted in Massachusetts until the third phase, which is tentatively scheduled to begin Monday, July 6.

In addition to the Red Sox and FCBL, a few adult men’s leagues, including the Boston Men’s Baseball League (BMBL) and Intercity Baseball League (ICL) hope to begin one week after the start of the third phase. The BMBL hopes to start its season on Friday, July 12 while the ICL is planning to allow its nine-team league to begin to play one day later on Saturday, July 13.

Of course, plans for both leagues, along with others could be pushed back pending the state’s plan for allowing games and scrimmages to begin. Currently, the state’s second phase, which is what we are in now, only allows adult, amateur, and youth sports leagues to practice, not play games or scrimmages. And social distancing, along with good hygiene is certainly encouraged for all participants.