The Otsenango Pony League will not have a summer baseball program for the first time in more than 50 years as it announced the cancellation of the 2020 summer season, Wednesday, May 20.
Eighteen teams separated into three divisions make up the league, with several local school districts represented by teams from their respective areas.
“Unfortunately, we put it off has long as we could,” Otsenango Pony League president Eileen Lawyer told The Daily Star on Wednesday. “Because most of our teams are school district based, a lot of the teams play on school fields, so we didn’t really have an option.
“I don’t think at this point, trying to get the summer season in would be possible because even if you were going to do July into August, you’d have to make that decision now because there was no spring ball,” Lawyer continued. “I was just hoping something would change but it doesn’t appear athletic fields are going to be available.”
Oneonta Rail Riders coach Terry Zimmer was getting ready for his seventh season before the cancellation came down.
“It’s unfortunate but not unexpected,” Zimmer said. “The safety of the kids is the most important thing.”
With the summer months now off the table, Lawyer said the league is hoping to create a fall program to salvage the season. According to a media release, the fall season would start the weekend after Labor Day, stretch for six weeks and games would be played on the weekends.
“I think if we did something in the fall, even if we had six to eight teams in the 13- to 15-year-old range and even in the older group, it’s pretty simple to put together,” Lawyer said. “We wouldn’t do a championship game or an all-star game or anything like that.”
Lawyer also disclosed that the initial response has been positive on the idea of forming a fall program, while Zimmer added that there is “a lot of excitement about the fall ball possibility.”
“It might be a good opportunity, we haven’t had a good fall ball program around here in a while.... it might be a permanent thing,” Lawyer said.
“I hope there’s some baseball later this year for those who want to play and if not we’ll be back at it next year,” Zimmer said.