BISMARCK, N.D. - Unfortunately one of the most consistent aspects in the sports world the last few months is the COVID-19 pandemic forcing plans to change. Friday's announcement comes from the Expedition League. The start of its summer baseball season is being delayed.
The League has teams in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska and Manitoba. In the U.S., the process of re-opening is happening in some areas but with different guidelines in different places, the Expedition League indicated it's difficult to get all of the teams on the same page at the same time.
Jason Watson is the Badlands Big Sticks General manager and he says he saw this coming.
"You know we've seen it coming it’s the type of world we are in right now you look at a lot of other leagues and they are doing the same. You know we are not at the point right now where we feel that it’s time to cancel the season. Will that time come? Time will tell but we are hoping that is not the case and hoping that we can have a season obviously a shorten season but give these guys an opportunity to play ball," said Watson.
Social distancing restrictions, like the gathering of larger groups is the main reason for the delayed start of the 2020 Expedition League season and Watson does not see scenario where they'd play ball without fans coming to the ballpark.
"If we can't play in front of fans financially it is not a doable thing for this year. Which is a realistic thing that could possibly happen. You know if we can only play in front of 50% of our occupancy that is going to be tough," said Watson.
Also due to travel restrictions in & out of Canada plus limits placed on the size of gatherings by the Province of Manitoba, the Wheat City Whiskey Jacks will not be able to play in Brandon this summer.
The Whiskey Jacks will play its games in the city based in North Dakota but the details of that move for 2020 will be announced at a later time.