STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)- The coronavirus pandemic has forced cancellations of a wide variety of sporting events at the professional, college and high school levels. On Thursday, that trickled down to the youth sports level as well. the Little League World Series, an annual late summer tradition, was cancelled by the governing body.
The LLWS has run continuously every year since its inception, and next year’s would have marked the tournament’s 75th anniversary. Unfortunately, that celebration will have to wait until 2022. The decision to cancel this year’s tournament and pick up again in 2021 is one that Mid Island Little League coach Joe Calabrese says he understands was difficult.
“I thought they had a little bit of more time to make the decision,” said Calabrese in an interview with CBS2’s Otis Livingston. “But then I read a lot about the international teams, and with the passports, and all the, you know, there’s a lot of coordination I guess it takes on their part. I understand it, it’s just a tough situation.”
The Mid Island squad, which won the LLWS in 1964 and then made it back to Williamsport in 2018, was excited to try and make another run at the tournament. Now, some kids will never get the chance aging out of Little League after this season.
“You start as a 9-10 year old and then you work your way up to 12,” said Calabrese. “This is like a third of their life they’re putting into chasing this one dream. To not even have the opportunity is tough.”
Despite the cancellation of the tournament, the Little League organization did announce that it would be crediting “all chartered programs with the affiliation fees paid for their chartered teams in 2020, which totals approximately $1.2 million in support to local leagues.”
Though there will be no World Series, there remains a chance Little League ball could return this summer. But, the governing body advises all programs to check with state and local public health officials before returning to play.