BMBA 2020 COVID Return to Play

Based on the results of the surveys submitted to all of our registered members last week, the BMBA Executive has decided to proceed with a “Return to Play” plan and resume activities under our ‘AA’ competitive baseball program.

Online registration via the RAMP system is now open for ‘AA’ levels 11U, 13U, 15U and 18U, accessible using the following link:

http://barrheadball.rampregistrations.com/

Registration will only remain open until June 28th, 2020, in order to meet Baseball Alberta’s new deadline of June 30th. 

Based upon our survey results we expect to have enough participants to field at least two teams: one at 13U and one at 18U.  The few interested 11U and 15U players who responded to our survey will play up with either 13U or 18U respectively.  Also, the softball players who fall into these age groups who also expressed interest in returning to activity are encouraged to register in the corresponding ‘AA’ baseball age category and come play ball with us! 

The initial registration fee for everyone at all levels will be $45 per player.  This will only cover the initial cost of the planned Return to Play activities for July and possibly/optionally August, and this fee will be non-refundable.  If circumstances allow for expanded activity options later in July or August, such as inter-association play with carded umpires, then additional fees will be assessed at that time.  Activities will not proceed beyond August under this Return to Play plan. 

Participants need to be aware of the unique restrictions and conditions of a return to activity under this plan.  Of particular importance is the cohort restriction, which does not allow for participation in any other organized team sport activity while engaged in activities with Minor Ball.  This includes things like hockey camps or related activities that may be starting up in August, should our Return to Play activities extend that far.  All of the conditions of our “Return to Play” are explained in detail during the registration process, so please read everything and ensure you understand exactly what the requirements are for participation before you sign up. 

Expectations also need to be measured as this is not going to look like the typical ‘AA’ baseball activity many of you are familiar with.  Significant restrictions have been placed on almost everything from gameplay to travel, and circumstances beyond the control of BMBA could end our planned activities at any time.  Ultimately this is an opportunity to get some of our athletes, male and female, with baseball or softball backgrounds, back out onto the diamond for some much needed physical and social activity, insured and sanctioned by Baseball Alberta. 

Whether we see you on the diamond this year or next, everyone stay safe and healthy and have an enjoyable summer!

2020 Return to Play Guidelines

On June 5th, 2020 Baseball Alberta released their “Return to Train” guidelines for their member associations. These guidelines in their entirety can be viewed online at the BaseballAlberta.com website at:

http://baseballalberta.com/article/59848

On June 12th, 2020 Softball Alberta released their “Return to Play” guidelines. These guidelines can be viewed using the following links:

Barrhead Minor Ball has reviewed all of the guidelines released to date and determined that the “Return to Train” guidelines are geared more towards high performance athletes and programs, such as those offered at the “AAA” level, where participants are more inclined to pursue skill refinement through solo drills and related activities without actual game play. The BMBA Executive has agreed that such activities are not generally compatible with the expectations of participants in “A” (House League) and “AA” (Competitive) level programs such as those offered in Barrhead.

The “Return to Play” guidelines released by Softball Alberta include game play scenarios and describe activities that are more consistent with the types of programs offered by Barrhead Minor Ball.

In contemplation of a “Return to Play” in Barrhead, a series of surveys will be sent out to our previously registered membership to assess the willingness of participants to return to a restricted model of activity. Decisions with regard to the feasibility of any proposed plan will be made based upon the results of these surveys. Bear in mind that there are many factors that may still affect any return to activities in Barrhead in 2020, from municipal restrictions and facility availability, to changing provincial health directives, to local volunteer resources and community interest. The surveys represent only the first step in what could be a protracted and ultimately futile process, so expectations should be measured accordingly.

Since Baseball Alberta has not yet released Return to Play guidelines, only the softball survey will be sent out initially. This survey will be emailed to all 2020 registrants for softball and T-Ball in Barrhead. Similar surveys for “Baseball – House League ‘A'” and “Baseball – Competitive ‘AA'” will be distributed later to registrants in those programs if and when Return to Play guidelines are released by Baseball Alberta.

Also, please note that independent programs like Adult Slo-Pitch are not part of Minor Ball and are not subject to the same restrictions and liabilities as the youth programs sanctioned by the provincial governing bodies. So when you see the adults out on the diamonds playing ball in the coming weeks, please do not flood Minor Ball with emails asking why we are not doing the same thing.

COVID-19 Update – May 9, 2020

On May 8th, 2020 Baseball Alberta updated their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The updated response can be viewed in its entirety on their website at http://baseballalberta.com/.  As a result, Barrhead Minor Ball will now be canceling all in-person activities until September 1, 2020 consistent with Baseball Alberta and Baseball Canada’s directives.  This will include any competitive tryouts, practices, games, meetings and clinics that may have already been scheduled or planned prior to September 1, 2020.

All registered players who have already paid their fees can expect to receive a full refund returned to the original payment method as soon as the account reconfigurations described in our email to the membership on May 7th take effect. This is expected to occur on or about May 15th, with refunds gradually being processed in the days following. When all refunds have been completed, BMBA will send out another email to the membership informing them that the process is complete.

As Baseball Alberta has indicated in their latest update, the situation with respect to COVID-19 in Alberta is fluid and subject to change as authorities continually assess and reassess the results of our collective actions. Barrhead Minor Ball will continue to monitor the situation throughout the summer and issue additional updates to our members based on the provincial governing bodies’ renewed policies as they become available.

Finally, I would like to thank all of our members for the patience and understanding they have demonstrated over the past few months. This announcement is extremely disappointing for all of the 200+ families that make up minor ball in Barrhead, but ultimately sport is as much about teamwork, personal sacrifice and camaraderie as it is about recreation. These are the skills that allow us to prevail in times of crisis as we have done so many times before on the diamond, and will no doubt continue to do in the future, whenever that day might be.

Mike Roszko

President