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DYB expects delayed start to season

By Michael Butler

March 24 was supposed to be opening day for the Dixie Youth Baseball season in Tallassee. Instead, a sign on the fence to the entry of the East Tallassee park denied access to the facility.

A stay-at-home mandate issued by the governor will have parks closed until at least April 30. The high school baseball and softball seasons have already been canceled due to the threat of COVID-19.

The local DYB league has yet to make the same type of declaration regarding the season for youth ages 7-12, but Dixie Youth Baseball has issued a statement with the expectation of an abbeviated season.

"Youth baseball has never been through anything like this and Dixie Youth Baseball is hopeful that players will get an opportunity to play the great American game of baseball in 2020 and hear the ping in their bats," DYB commissioner Wes Skelton posted. "DYB players desperately want to have a 2020 season and participate in all-star tournament play. 

"DYB’s current guidance for leagues based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “CDC” recommendations is for each league to suspend and postpone all their league activities until May 11.  In May, we will determine if an abbreviated season is possible and will update all of our leagues."

Tallassee DYB commissioner Abe Rigsby echoed those same sentiments.

"We hope to kick off the season as soon as the parks and everyting else are back open," Rigsby said. "We will do our very best to have a season as soon as we are allowed to do so."

Alabama Dixie Youth Baseball state director Raymond Housel also commented.

"With the announcement of the cancelation of the remainder of the school year," Housel noted, "I am sure all league officials, coaches and parents are questioning, 'Will Dixie Youth cancel the 2020 season?' The answer is NO. I have no plans to cancel any part of our 2020 season.

"Our first priority will be the regular season where every child participates. I anticipate a season of 5-6 weeks with all teams playing a minimum of two or three games a week. Afterwards will come tournament play. Obviously we are going to have to move some tournament dates. Rest assured, the state board and I are ready for the season to begin as soon as we get the go ahead from the CDC and the Alabama Health Department."

The national organization elaborated further on a plan for the season.

"DYB’s goal is to get players back on the playing fields in their local league program as soon as it is safe to do so and begin tournament play at some time in July with district winners participating in state tournaments and state champions advancing to the DYB World Series. The Division I and Division II DYB World Series are still scheduled to be played in Laurel, Mississippi the first two weeks in August. Stay tuned, at some point, this extended delay will end and we will be playing ball again."

President Donald Trump even chimed in.

"To all of our youth who are missing the start of their seasons, hang in there! We will get you back out on the fields, and know that you will be playing baseball soon. We will get through this together, and bats will be swinging before you know it. In the meantime, take care of mom and dad, and know that this will not be forever!"