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Local baseball kids back on the diamond

The board of the Sudbury Minor Baseball Association had long since accepted the fact that running a standard summer league, in 2020, was clearly a pipe-dream.

They were not, however, willing to give up completely on a sport that they love.

"We've been looking at this now for about three weeks to a month, based just on wanting to find a way to get the kids back on the diamond," said SMBA board member Craig Thompson.

"Initially, we didn't know at what capacity we might be allowed to do it. It was a waiting game with the government regulations, the OBA (Baseball Ontario), and ultimately the city and their regulations.

Thankfully, with the advent of Stage 3 of the regional pandemic response, youngsters began making their way on to the infield turf of the Terry Fox Sports Complex #1 diamond a week or so ago.

"When things started to open up, we got together again to look at putting the kids on the field in a socially distant setting that still allows them to learn drills and skills," said Thompson. "Baseball starts as a fairly socially distant sport, especially when you are practicing."

While things may change, over time, initial plans call for both an infield and outfield grouping of players, with their location remaining constant. The OBA sent out some very good guidelines on what we can or can't do," said Thompson.

"Initially, it was just ten players per diamond, max. Then they adjusted to allow for two groups of ten, providing you are using a certain sized field (Terry Fox #1 fits those requirements), with the stipulation that neither group can cross-sect."

"As far as practice plans, they are similar to what I have run in the past, just with slightly smaller groups."

And with no games on the horizon any time soon, Thompson and company were forced to think a little outside the box, just to ensure that the players will still find the exercises stimulating and fun.

"You have to bre creative, from the standpoint that there are no games and scrimmages, so you may have to play a game within a practice," he said. "You try and build in a little bit of competitiveness."

Prior to committing to this plan of action, the SMBA surveyed the families of nearly 400 players, with 190 responses received, 90% of which indicated children that wished to participate.

"There are obviously some kids out there who want to keep playing baseball," said Thompson. Just the way that the SMBA likes it.

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