Local baseball camps to reopen with state's OK

FileThe entrance to Cooperstown Dreams Park is show in this 2016 file photo.

Based on last week’s state announcement that summer camps can begin making plans for summer 2021, the two baseball camps in Otsego County have announced plans to reopen this year.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday, Feb. 17, that he has given preliminary approval for summer camps, including day camps and sleep-over camps. A final decision has not been made on when and how the camps can open, but Cuomo said they would not be allowed to open until June at the earliest. 

According to Otsego County officials, both baseball tournament businesses are classified as sleep-over camps. Both host teams composed of players younger than 12, or U12 in sports parlance.

In response to the state announcement, Cooperstown All-Star Village in West Oneonta and Cooperstown Dreams Park in Hartwick Seminary have both posted messages to customers, saying they anticipate being able to operate this season under limited capacity. 

The camps canceled their 2020 seasons because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

All-Star Village posted a message Feb. 17:

“As we move forward for the 2021 tournament, we want to assure you that Cooperstown All Star Village is taking all necessary health and safety precautions in accordance with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and New York state health officials for our players, coaches, umpires, guests and employees. We are currently awaiting further government and medical direction, but being realistic about how to handle our opening based on what we know now. As things change we are confident restrictions will expire and we will update.”

All-Star Village will follow the same procedures it set last year for determining if each week’s tournament will take place, according to its statement. A month before each session, a determination will be made if the camp week can be safely held. Refunds will be issued for canceled weeks and also to teams from states that have travel restrictions in place that prevent them from travelling to New York. 

Dreams Park posted a message Tuesday, Feb. 23, stating it has submitted a plan to the state for a summer slate of reduced capacity tournaments. In a normal season, the park hosts 104 teams per week for a 13-week season. 

“Dreams Park has expanded the 2021 camp season by starting earlier and ending later,” the message said. “Our plan will require that all camp participants and registered family members provide proof of negative testing or inoculation in accordance to New York state guidelines. The plan to expand the season at reduced capacity is in the best interest, safety, health and well-being of Cooperstown and the surrounding community. For the 2021 season the facility will be closed to the general public.

“The 2021 season will be the first step toward a full re-opening and a building block for the future; potentially allowing hundreds of additional communities to experience Cooperstown Dreams Park, the Cooperstown area and the National Baseball Hall of Fame,” the message said. 

Go to www.cooperstownallstarvillage.com or www.cooperstowndreamspark.com for updates and more information. 

Greg Klein, staff writer, can be reached at gklein@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7218.

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