PLAY BALL!

Local little leagues gearing up to begin their seasons

Brendan Keany
July 06, 2020 - 6:40 am

Baseball diamond on Stenzil Street in North Tonawanda where filming for "A Quiet Place 2" will take place. September 3, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

BUFFALO (WBEN) - "The game itself is actually pretty well social distanced," said Chad Israel, president of Mel Ott Little League. "I think the most difficult task we'll end up with is when there's that walk-off hit in the bottom and trying to keep all the players from jumping up and down and hugging each other."

Mel Ott Little League is one of the fortunate leagues that was able to resolve enough of the issues and implement the necessary protocols to have a semblance of a season, even if it's a little bit different.

Orchard Park Little League is also gearing up for a July 15 return, and President Ted Phalon discussed some of the safety measures they're putting forth, as their return to play plan was largely created by an ECMC doctor.

"The social distancing is going to be probably the thing that you'll notice the most," said Ted Phalon of Orchard Park Little League. "We're in the process of marking out specific areas on our field right now where an individual family can go.

"There won't be bleachers this year - we're incororating those as part of our expanded dugout, so there will not be any fans in the bleachers," he continued. "Obviously, masks are going to be something that is very new. We are requiring the spectators, when they are moving to the concession stand, or to the restrooms or traveling to the field that they're watching, we are asking that they wear a mask."

Listen to Phalon's full comments below:

While there are a fair amount of little leagues that felt comfortable in reopening, others decided that it didn't make sense to open up at this point in time, including the Hertel North Park Youth Baseball League.

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Israel added that they've heard mixed reaction to the decision to begin a season.

"We have a lot of parents excited - they want their kids out doing stuff, they want to get them outside, get them some exercise and things of that nature," said Israel. "We've had the handful that are on the fence, they're skeptical, and we have a handful that are 'I'm going to take this year off, and we'll revisit it next year,' which is absolutely fine. We just want to give them the opportunity where if you feel comfortable enough, we've done everything to make it as safe as we possibly can for your children."

Listen to Israel's full comments below:

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