Westport Baseball and Softball Programs Suspended At Least Until Schools Open

Both players and organization disappointed, but understanding

A+%22Field+Closed%22+sign+on+Rogers+Field+serves+as+a+reminder+of+baseball+on+hold.+While+a+similar+sign+has+been+positioned+on+Compo+Beach+Field+since+the+summer%2C+the+notices+have+proliferated+across+town+as+the+Westport+Parks+and+Recreation+Department+closed+the+rest+of+their+baseball+fields.

Will Boberski

A “Field Closed” sign on Rogers Field serves as a reminder of baseball on hold. While a similar sign has been positioned on Compo Beach Field since the summer, the notices have proliferated across town as the Westport Parks and Recreation Department closed the rest of their baseball fields.

Will Boberski, Staff Writer

Westport’s youth baseball fields, normally bustling with kids, parents, and coaches, are eerily silent.

Citing fears about the corona virus pandemic which has closed schools and put communities under lock down from coast to coast, both Major League Baseball and Westport Little League Baseball and Softball have suspended their seasons indefinitely.

The delay of the Westport season comes after a recommendation by Little League Baseball and Softball, the national governing body of the sport. Westport Little League Baseball and Softball will not be able to start the season until schools are open as well: currently, this date is around May 20.

While this date may change, the soonest Westport would be able to open its season would be around May 23. For middle schoolers, this will mean that Westport Little League Majors division, Intermediate 50/70 league, Babe Ruth league, Westport Travel Baseball games, and their softball equivalents are postponed until at least May 23.

The Westport organization expressed their disappointment for the delay in a post on their website, but stressed that the health of their players and participants was their top priority and that they would continue to comply with the recommended protocols as issued by state and local offices and the Centers for Disease Control, even if it meant delaying the season. The organization is working to maintain participation in sports programs after the closure ends, either through a shorter spring season, an extended season into the summer, or another option not yet discussed.

Will Boberski
A “Field Closed” sign on Burr Farms Softball Field.

The players who would otherwise have been on Westport’s fields are also disappointed, though understanding. According to Nathaniel Phillips, a 7th grader in Green Pod who had signed up to play in the 50/70 League, “It’s kind of annoying, but there is always another season next year.” Aaryan Gupta, a 7th grader in Red Pod who had also hoped to play in the 50/70 League, echoed this sentiment, saying, “I do not like it, and I am not able to play with my friends and have fun.”

Despite some misgivings, the delay is ultimately in the interest of safeguarding the health of players, parents, coaches, and all involved in one of the largest Little League programs in the nation. Just because games have been suspended, they’re not gone forever: the diamond will still be waiting for Westport players no matter the delay.

Additionally, the statement from Westport Little League Baseball and Softball mentioned the unexpected positives of the situation: “With many parents now working from home, there is an opportunity for parent-child catches, fielding practice and hitting in one’s backyard while engaging in recommended social distancing, which parents have told us they have historically struggled to find time for during the regular season.” Both Nathaniel and Aaryan were able to use the time that the delay created to keep their baseball skills sharp and practice with friends and family. Opening day or not, let the baseball season begin!