JAYBAL not shutting door on summer baseball

Jack Brown Stadium closed 2020.jpg
Jamestown's Jack Brown Stadium remains closed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Michael Savaloja / The Sun

Following this week's decision by the American Legion Department of North Dakota to cancel the 2020 baseball season, a grassroots effort to still play games, if possible, has been initiated.

Jamestown Area Youth Baseball Association (JAYBAL) General Manager Brad Nold issued a press release late Wednesday stating Legion Class AA and Class A representatives met Tuesday to determine a way to hold a summer season. Players involved would be between the ages of 16-19.

The release explained the following criteria would first need to be met:

  • Guidelines by the North Dakota State Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are relieved or lowered as the season approaches.

  • All the state's parks district facilities are opened up for public use.

"In addition, we will take the lead from the Governor's office and the state Health Department to make the best decision possible for all involved," the release stated. "The group will be meeting again in the coming weeks to finalize another possible program affiliation, or whether to remain as an independent league.
"JAYBAL, as well as the Class AA and Class A representatives across the state, will ensure we have as much information as possible when decisions are made. The collective goal is to make decisions that are truly in the best interest of the youth participating in summer baseball."

JAYBAL President Jeff Douty said a meeting concerning local Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken youth baseball is scheduled for Friday, which he explained will most likely include discussion on how to incorporate Jamestown Legion Blues players with Babe Ruth 16 and under, if play is allowed. Jamestown’s Class A Post 14 baseball team includes players ranging in age between 17-19.


Douty said the JAYBAL board met Wednesday via Zoom web conference to discuss possible 2020 youth baseball options.

“We are gonna try and provide and do what we can for the players,” Douty said. “We’re not going to say no to anything as long as things are in our control. Obviously, the Parks and Rec and from (Gov.) Burgum on down is gonna tell us what we can and can’t do. But we’re going to try and exhaust all options.”

Numerous hurdles related to the COVID-19 pandemic currently stand in the way of youth summer baseball, which essentially led the North Dakota America Legion to pull the plug. Following President Trump's national emergency declaration issued on March 13, the CDC has advised against social gatherings of more than 10 people, as well as discretionary travel. Locally, Gov. Doug Burgum has extended his executive order closing many non-essential businesses, including, health clubs and recreational and athletic facilities, through April 30.

Jamestown's Parks and Rec baseball facilities are currently closed to the public, while the state’s K-12 school buildings have been closed under executive order since March 15.

Summer youth and American Legion baseball typically begins the first week of June, but Douty said it’s possible a potential season could get stretched into August if things were to get off to a late start.

“Fortunately, we’ve got 40-some days yet before we really gotta get nervous about are we gonna have a season or not,” Douty said. “There’s just a number of little things that could come into play.”

Douty said a staggered opening of the state’s park district baseball facilities could put teams on different timelines, creating scheduling concerns. He also said it’s possible health officials could mandate certain hygiene protocols that could involve cost and other logistical issues to figure out, and travel and transportation are also big question marks at the present time.

State and national authority will largely dictate what can play out, but JAYBAL plans to be ready if baseball is allowed to go forward.


Douty said: "After last night's meeting, all of us board members are going to do what we can to provide a season.”

Savaloja is the sports lead writer for The Jamestown Sun.
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