The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League has canceled its 2020 season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, following an announcement from president Robert Julian, Wednesday, May 6.
“It is with sadness, but a recognition of the health reality we face as a state and a nation, that the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League will not commence or play its 2020 season,” Julian said in a statement on the league’s website. “We recognize this is a great disappointment to our collegiate players, to our fans, our host communities and the dedicated staff and owners who have spent so much of their lives making the league a vibrant part of collegiate baseball and the American baseball fabric. The dynamic of this crisis requires cancellation.”
The Oneonta Outlaws were set to start play May 29 with a home game against the Glens Falls Dragons.
“It was just a matter of time. We had to cancel it,” Outlaws owner Gary Laing said. “Very, very disappointing.”
“Obviously the safety of the athletes, staff, and community is more important than baseball,” Outlaws general manager and head coach Joe Hughes said. “We’re already moving forward to 2021.”
In March, the PGCBL released a statement saying it would monitor the situation, but had not issued any other updates before Wednesday.
“You just wanted to see if things might change,” Laing said on the timing of the decision. “You have to make a decision pretty soon because players start traveling here.”
Laing also mentioned that there were several fall-back plans such as delaying the start of the season or playing without fans, but that cancellation proved to be the only logical decision.
“Here I really can’t play without fans, that’s not an option,” Laing said. “I couldn’t do it. I’m not sure there’s anybody in any league that could do it. You need the support of the community to be successful.”
The cancellation halts what could have been a successful season at Damaschke Field as the Outlaws were prepared to welcome some top talent to this year’s roster.
“It’s unfortunate, we hope some of those kids come back. We had some good kids coming in,” Hughes said. “On paper we had a good roster and a good group of kids coming and hopefully it’ll be the same for next year.”
Hughes said a pair of pitchers from Ole Miss and two players from both Oklahoma State and Louisville signed up to play baseball in Oneonta this summer. Hughes added that everyone who was supposed to be on this year’s roster is guaranteed a spot on the 2021 roster.
With the 2020 season now scratched, summer baseball in Otsego County will not return for another calendar year. A team has played home games at Damaschke Field during every summer since 1966.
“I’m trying to get over the heartache of the 2020 season,” Laing said.