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.
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)
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.
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.
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
With phase three starting today that only means one thing: summer baseball.Yep, summer baseball is back on for a few local leagues, including the Massachusetts Independent Baseball League (MIBL), which begins its inaugural season tomorrow with three very enticing matchups taking place in Dedham, Franklin, and Norwood.
According to recent modeling, Massachusetts is one of 14 states that has “controlled the growth of the disease” – that would be the coronavirus (Covid-19). And that was certainly a reason why Governor Charlie Baker elected to move our state into the third phase.
J.D. Martinez, who is often the designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox, announced through a Zoom call with reporters yesterday that he is asthmatic. And he certainly seems nervous about playing games during a pandemic.
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.
As the state of Massachusetts continues to reopen in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there is a sense of excitement for sports and recreational activities to return, including adult leagues, which would be permitted during the second phase.
Noontime Sports recently caught-up with Jessica Knight to discuss how S3 Boston has stayed in touch with its players virtually these past few months, as well as what she expects leagues to look like once they can officially begin in a few weeks.
Since the pandemic started, how has S3 been able to stay connected with its players? Have you held virtual games or trivia events?
Yes. S3 Boston began as a social league and our goal was to continue this model throughout the pandemic. We have run weekly happy hours every Friday, as well as hosted some virtual events, including a running group, trivia, and music bingo. We have also shared daily workouts for our players.
Do you imagine your leagues and rules will have to be adjusted due to social distancing and safety measures? Additionally, do you think it is possible to offer some go-to/favorite sports but organize them differently?
Yes, we will need to incorporate rules around what equipment is shared, what is not shared, social distancing, and face coverings. I have been trying to think through a way to host Cornhole in a safe way – sure, it might be hard to stand six feet apart from each other while using gloves, but I think it is possible.
What sport (or leagues) do you think will be in high demand for your athletes this summer? And do you envision most leagues will be held outside?
This summer will be all outside. I am hopeful to get back indoors in the fall. I think softball and kickball are going to be in the highest demand. Everyone just wants to get back out there.
Obviously, safety and health will be the main focus when it comes to restarting and running leagues, so what should players expect after signing up to arriving to the field for their first game?
As of right now, we anticipate everyone will need to wear a mask and participate in social distancing as much as possible. We will be cleaning the supplies after each game and using a fresh ball for each contest. If someone falls sick, we will be offering them a prorated refund for the league to eliminate any pressure to show up.
Finally, does S3 Boston have leagues scheduled to start either later this month/early July?
Yes, they are all up on our website. We will be adding more soon as soon as we receive the permits from the parks department.