After initially delaying the start of the season to July 1, the Cal Ripken League announced the cancellation of its summer 2020 season on May 5. One team, the DC Grays, canceled their season April 24.
The league has teams in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC, and the impact of the various state and local COVID 19 related restrictions in place made a season impracticable. Some fields are closed until June 15, others until July 1, and even if they opened then, the teams would have needed eight to 10 days of practice before games began.
“It came down to safety,” commissioner Jason Woodward said. “Cases here in Maryland are still going up. In the end, we decided that the risk outweighed the reward, and it does.”
Other factors, including increasingly wary host families, and loss of sponsorships played into the decision as well.
All registered players have been released from their contracts and the league will try to help place players who are interested in participating in other leagues that are still ongoing. Recruitment for the 2021 season is set to begin August 1.
Since 2010, some teams have participated in the annual “Manna Feed the Hungry Challenge” to collect food for a local food center. Last summer, they donated 3.8 tons (over 7,000 pounds) of food to Manna Food Center in Maryland. Woodward is still hoping to coordinate an event with the teams and Manna if it is safe to do so later in the summer.
The Cal Ripken League is also looking to add one or two more teams to the league for next season. An unexpected benefit of the cancellation is that there is more time to plan and work with those people and teams who are considering making a move to join the league.
“We’ve had some good conversations because people are sitting at home,” Woodward said. “They can step back and evaluate their program because they have a little bit of time as well.”
The league conference call is scheduled for June 1, and they will release any applicable updates then.
For more information on league statuses, check our regularly updated list.