The Parsons Babe Ruth League will still implement various health guidelines and restrictions for its players and fans this summer in an effort to limit the potential spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Labette County as well as the City of Parsons have said there are no restrictions that local businesses or other entities are required to follow, but Parsons Babe Ruth will still attempt to adhere to the spirit of guidelines set forth as part of Governor Laura Kelly’s plan to reopen the economy.
“We have to take into the context the ongoing public health situation around us,” said Parsons Babe Ruth League President John Rexwinkle said. “If we still have no new cases in three weeks, that increases confidence.”
Parents and fans attending practices and games will be encouraged to practice social distancing.
“The coaches are still going to lead the efforts,” Rexwinkle said. “We strongly suggest that parents bring their own chairs and spread out around the field. We won’t be roping the bleachers off, but if it becomes apparent that there’s 100 people on a small bleacher, we may reconsider that.
“We’ll encourage social distancing. From a player perspective, we’ll teach the kids to resist the urge to give high-fives. We won’t be doing postgame handshakes. We’ll maintain and encourage good hygiene.”
Other efforts that the Parsons Babe Ruth League will take include limiting concession stand employees to two at a time, no water coolers in dugouts and players being encouraged to bring their own equipment and drinks with no sharing.
“That’s our starting point. It’s a fluid situation and it has to be taken into context of the virus and the situation around us. Some of the decisions may be made for us if cases pop up, but we’ll make the best decisions no matter what,” Rexwinkle said.
The league held its draft for the 2020 season on Thursday. Parsons Babe Ruth League will have a three-team 6-year-old developmental league. There will be four teams in the 7-8 league with one team coming from Erie, three teams in the 9-10 league with one team from Girard, three teams in the 11-12 league, four teams in the 13-15 league and one or two teams in the 16-18 league.
“I’m excited that we’re going to have a product to offer,” Rexwinkle said. “It’ll give the kids a return to normalcy in a safe way. I’m glad we stayed the course and were fortunate enough to have the resources to not be forced into a position to make a decision in early April. We bought ourselves some time and played it by ear to see how it unfolded.”
The league is expected to start its season on the week of June 15.