As noted on the league’s website, the ICL Board of Directors, along with each team seems eager to return to the diamond after their previous season was interrupted for the first time since 1950.
The ICL, which currently features nine teams, including the Lexington Blue Sox, who have captured the league crown 15 times, will play a 24-game regular season. Following the conclusion of the regular season, the ICL will conduct a postseason.
The Intercity Baseball League (ICL) announced earlier today, both on its website and Facebook page that the 2020 season has been canceled.
The ICL, which has been playing baseball in the Greater Boston area since 1950, hoped to provide its nine-team league with an eight-game schedule followed by a tournament but the Board of Directors decided last night during a remote meeting that it was best to cancel the season and return to the field next year.
“After exploring every avenue for months, the ICL has made the extremely difficult decision to cancel the 2020 season. The Intercity League has enjoyed an outstanding and continuous tradition in Massachusetts amateur baseball since 1950 and we look forward to coming back stronger than ever in 2021. We make this decision out of an abundance of caution and after careful consideration of all factors. The safety of our players, their families, managers, coaches, umpires, administrators, and fans, remained paramount in all of our discussions. This was an exceedingly difficult choice, but we felt it was the best decision at this time. Given the ongoing situation and the ever-growing time constraints, we felt the window to conduct a meaningful ICL season this summer has become too narrow.”
While fans of the ICL will have to wait a bit longer to see their favorite team return to the diamond, the league did announce the Lexington Blue Sox are organizing a tournament to honor a pair of former players, including Pete Frates, who lost his courageous battle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) last year.
The league plans to announce more information regarding the tournament later this week.
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.
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 Rox, North Shore Navigators, Westfield 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.
As the state of Massachusetts continues its reopening during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, thoughts of baseball games being played by a slew of local adult men’s leagues remain a possibility.
Most leagues, including the Boston Park League, Intercity Baseball League, and Yawkey Baseball League appear hopeful they can start-up their respective seasons on or after Monday, July 6 which happens to be the same day of the state’s third phase of its reopening.
Additionally, there are other leagues that hope to play games as soon as Monday, July 6, including the North Shore Baseball League (NSBL), which announced earlier this week on Twitter that plans for its 2020 season are currently being finalized and that “we will look to throw the first pitch on July 6.”
In addition to announcing a potential start date for its upcoming season, the NSBL, along with other leagues, have stressed safety as their main priority so they can keep managers, players, and umpires healthy this summer. The Boston Men’s Baseball League, which is hoping to begin its season on Sunday, July 12, knows it is possible some players may wish to not compete this year but did politely request that these hitters and pitchers contact their managers.