N.S. baseball players waiting for province to let the games begin
'I think what is frustrating for many is the lack of direction,' says minor baseball executive
August is approaching and Nova Scotia baseball players are frustrated.
COVID-19 has ruined their baseball season and coaches and players around the province are wondering why they can't play games.
"I think what is frustrating for many is the lack of direction and what it is that our Public Health wants us to do for baseball, which is primarily a non-contact sport," said Holly LaPierre, president of Hammonds Plains Minor Baseball Association.
Baseball Nova Scotia posted the first phase of its return to play guidelines June 8. It set out the rules for returning to skill sessions and tryouts on June 15.
At the time, the organization stated a second phase would allow games to be played. But, six weeks later, the approval has not been granted.
"We really feel that, as a sport, what we really have going for us is that we play outdoors in such a large space where social distancing is possible 95 per cent of the time," said Brandon Guenette, Baseball Nova Scotia executive director.
Baseball Nova Scotia has made changes in order to promote distancing between players and officials during games.
Home plate umpires would set up behind the pitcher instead of behind the catcher. Catcher's gear would not be shared between players during games.
Nova Scotia is the only province in the Atlantic bubble not playing games.
Prince Edward Island baseball players got approval June 26. Governments in Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick gave approval to their baseball organizations just a few days later.
Most other provinces in Canada are also playing games. That includes Quebec and most of Ontario.
"For us, there are a blanket set of guidelines that we need to abide by," said Guenette.
"Other provinces have decided to take a different approach to that and have looked at sports individually, which has allowed sports like baseball and softball to go ahead."
Nova Scotia's nearly 8,000 baseball players can only continue to practise among themselves. They don't know when that might change.
The decision to approve baseball players to start playing games lies with Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health.
At a COVID-19 update Friday, Strang said he'd found a "solution" for baseball and softball players that would allow them to start playing. He gave few details and said Sport Nova Scotia would release information next week. Strang said the policy update would also affect other medium-contact sports.