Jersey Shore Assemblymen urge Governor to let Little League teams play ball
It's been a growing trend gaining more and more attention by the day across the Jersey Shore and the State to let the kids game play out for some in high school...one more time.
District 18 Little League in Ocean County and Administrator Frank Trenkle have already been making a push for a season not just to simply get out there and play, but they've been discussing how to apply social distancing safety measures for this year.
Their goal is to start practices by July 1 but would be happy with the proposal just pitched by the New Jersey Baseball Coalition who delivered it to Governor Murphy and his team to review.
They mention that, for one thing youth baseball is not a contact sport, but that they have a 3 phase approach for a season this year.
Phase 1: May 25-June 5 allow single team practices with up to 12 players and 3 coaches. No more than one team and no games allowed.
Phase 2: June 6 - June 12 single games only. Allow individual league/scrimmage games and continue to allow single team practices. No tournaments.
Phase 3: June 13 - until further notice allows all organized baseball games to return to league and tournaments.
The NJBC has a list of categorized rules and regulations that would be in place as well for players, coaches, umpires and fans/parents.
Little League International has also pitched a proposal to play ball this summer.
The pitch to play ball and have Little League seasons again has gotten the attention and support of Ocean County Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R) and Monmouth County Assemblyman Rob Clifton (R) who are asking Governor Murphy to let the kids play ball this summer.
"We have both reviewed the Little League Best Practices protocol and when we read that and how comprehensive it was with the emphasis on safely and responsibly giving our children an opportunity to play ball this summer, we both agree that it was time to come out and support these protocols with confidence that it's time to step up to the plate and play ball," Assemblyman Dancer told WOBM News/Shore Sports Network.
The gradual approach to a season with just practices, Dancer explains, provides an opportunity to make sure that the protocols are being followed and have health related disciplines in place for the kids.
"I think it's an opportunity for us, initially, to have the practices evaluated and take the next step where we can begin to play ball where we have a Little League season," Dancer said.
He feels it would be safe with having things like umpires standing behind the pitchers mound instead of home plate, no high-fives being allowed only a tipping of the hat and each player brining their own personal drink to practices and games.
"We can do this. I think we're going to instill the discipline in our young children," Dancer said. "The social distancing will be there as well as the hand sanitizers and the face coverings."
Assemblyman Rob Clifton concurs that these guidelines are safe enough for baseball to resume.
“With appropriate safeguards in place, I see no reason why a well-run little league game couldn’t meet or surpass the guidelines set forth by scientists to hold the games and enjoy the experience,” Assemblyman Clifton said in a release. “Governor, it’s time to let them play!”
Dancer doesn't "see any curveballs" in Governor Murphy and his team being reluctant in the Little League proposal.
"I think this is a very straight pitch and it's all grounded with safety being number one and health," Dancer said. "I think that the Governor is going to give it due-diligence and I am confident that we are making the right decision in the interest of our children, families and everyones health."