Issues on how to restart youth baseball and softball leagues were discussed during a joint web meeting of the Napoleon parks and recreation board and committee Monday.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced last week that non-contact and limited contact sports leagues, including baseball and softball, can resume play beginning May 26 under certain safety guidelines.
Those guidelines and the limited number of registrations were “problematic” issues that concerned members of the parks and recreation board and committee.
Specifically, the rule stating players may not share equipment was cause for much of the discussion.
“Nobody can share equipment, that includes bats, gloves, catcher’s equipment,” said Napoleon City Manager Joel Mazur. “That, in itself, is problematic. This would be a big expense on the city or is it something that would have to be a burden on the players and parents to purchase and bring their own equipment.”
Napoleon Parks and Recreation Board President Matt Hardy also questioned who would police all the safety regulations that are required to play.
“That is my biggest concern,” said Hardy. “Who in their right mind would ask a volunteer coach to do this? They have it hard enough and we are asking them to do this.”
Parks and Recreation Board member John Knepley said each team would most likely need three to four coaches to help maintain the safety regulations. He also added there would probably need to be a representative from the league at each game to monitor the coaches.
“I am all for playing, but just not how sure we can make this happen,” said Hardy.
Other safety rules each league must follow include maintaining a six-foot social distance when not playing the game and coaches and umpires must wear facial coverings at all times, while players must wear masks when not on the playing field.
Napoleon Parks and Recreation Director Tony Cotter noted all the city fields have dugouts that would not allow all the players to be inside them and maintain the six-foot social distance.
“Do we put them on the bleachers?” asked Cotter. “If we do then the spectators have to move from the bleachers and are standing around all over the park.”
Cotter also informed the groups that registration numbers for most of the leagues do not warrant restarting. He said three leagues currently have enough players registered to field at least four teams, which he considered the minimum to form a league.
Registrations for youth baseball and softball leagues are open until Friday.
It was decided to hold off on making any decision until the registration deadline passes and see if there is even enough players to field certain leagues. A meeting next week was scheduled to go over the registration numbers and possibly decide if there will be youth baseball and softball leagues this summer.