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Jun, 2020

Federal Little League Return To Practice Letter


Federal Families,

First off, thank you very much for your patience and understanding during this pandemic.  These are trying times for everyone and it is our hope that you and your family have remained healthy and safe. The Board of Directors (BOD) is grateful for all the players and families that call Federal their home for baseball. We want to provide development and practices at the field for divisions, or give resolution to the season.  Because of the continued recovery in Maryland, we feel that now is the best time to set some goal posts that will determine the rest of the season. 

Currently Youth Sports is open while observing social distancing guidelines.  Right now, that means no groups larger than 10 and recommended limited attendance.  Most baseball leagues in our area are resuming with practice under these guidelines June 1st.  Everyone is hopeful that as Governor Hogan stated, if this trend continues, we could be able to enter Phase 2 of the recovery plan in a week or so.  The BOD’s hope is, once the State reaches Phase 2 the gathering number will increase as well.

So, what does that mean and what is Federal doing? 

It means that right now, with the gathering number at 10 per group, and around 12 per team plus coaches, everyone cannot occupy the same areas at once.  So, for right now teams would need to be split into two groups to be able to practice.  One group “A” would have to be on the field and group “B” would have to occupy the batting cage and surrounding area.  Those groups would need to be separated at all times.  Social distancing measures of 6 feet would also need to be met whenever possible.  It also means between practices keeping the field, equipment, and everything at the facility clean and disinfected after each use.  For right now parents would also need to wait in their cars to limit attendance.  We were not blessed with being surrounded by park space or a big facility, but it is a wonderful one nonetheless.

What Federal is doing about it is going to have to be different at every level of play.  Have you ever coached Tball?  Some of the social distancing that needs to be done right now is not possible at certain age groups with only a few coaches.  Unfortunately, that means the youngest of our players could miss out the most and they truly are the future of our league.  The Board does not want to act prematurely, and we are hoping that the Governor is correct and a week from now more is possible.  A date has been set for deciding if we will move forward for our younger divisions.  For our older divisions where the kids are a little easier to manage, the league wants to give them an opportunity, for those who wish, to begin practices.

Tball & Coach Pitch – The Board of Directors has decided that if by June 15th we cannot see a clear path forward for when quality practices could start for these divisions while adhering to what the guidelines are, we will not move forward with these divisions. This was not any easy decision to come to, but the health and safety of our players is paramount, and we want families to have some resolution.  Things have dragged on for some time, all on the side of hope and wanting to provide an opportunity to everyone to play and learn the game of baseball.  If things do improve and these divisions move forward, we know some families may still not be able to participate.  Contingencies will be in place to give everyone resolution, regardless of their decision.  The BOD has decided that if their season must be cancelled, but things are more possible later in the summer/fall, we could host some skill development sessions or sandlot style games.  This is all dependent on support and volunteer help.  Parents could be asked to help facilitate as well.  Planning would need worked out, but we hope the opportunity exists to do something for every age group by the end of summer.  This would be done in addition to, the question I am sure some are wondering about, Refunds?  Keep reading or skip over the other divisions for more info on refunds.

Player Pitch/Majors – The Board of Directors has decided to proceed with practices for the Major Division starting around June 6th or 8th and Player Pitch on June 13th, using the modified social distancing practice mentioned earlier.  THIS IS 100% VOLUNTARY.  Enough time has passed and with Little League Tournament play suspended, there is no need to rush back immediately.  This is why the BOD chose to wait an extra week and see if conditions improve farther.  We recognize that for a whole host of reasons this it is not possible for some families right now, maybe not later.  That is okay, we absolutely understand and support every decision any of our families make.  If your child has, or anyone they come in close contact with regularly has, an elevated risk for COVID or other illnesses, that should be your guiding decision.  It is our job to provide the youth of Hagerstown with baseball and for those that are ready, and feel their child needs physical activity and socialization for mental health, we want to try and provide you a safe comfortable facility for that to happen.  For those that cannot participate for whatever reason, or just want some time, please hang in there if you are on the fence.  Anytime these modified practices are taking place your player can attend if you decide to.  Just let your team manager know your plans and keep them informed. 

The BOD has put together a list of guidelines following the advice of Little League, State and Local Officials, and will continue to update them as our situation changes.  Extreme cleaning measures will be in place as well and we will have hand sanitizer available for players and coaches.  We are providing COVID killing disinfectants to coaches that are recommended safe, to sanitize equipment that is shared after every practice as well as all touch points.  A Duty Officer will be stationed at the field to help monitor practices since the coach’s focus will be the players.  Please look over the guidelines attached to this email.  Coaches will be contacting teams as we approach with more instruction and your teams start date and time.  Once State guidelines allow a gathering for 25 or more, we will begin full team rather than group practices, with a parent present.  At that time, we will set a date for a hard decision from families on returning. 

Refunds – As of right now no decision has been made on refunds.  It is being explored by division to see what is fair to families and the league as much was spent to try and get the season started and keep it going.  We are a nonprofit and the concession stand is a huge source of revenue as well as the hit-a-thon and other fund raisers.  Registration money is a fraction of the true cost to play and keep the facility and equipment up to par.  Unfortunately, as of now, we do not have another source of revenue this season.  We were so close to the start of the season that much money and time had already been invested into playing.  Uniforms had been ordered in preparation of having everything for opening day.  Federal will not be able to issue a full refund to families.  The answer of what a refund would be is being worked on and we will have an answer by June 15th for every division of play.  We will also give three options at that time –

  1. A partial credit towards next season.
  2. A check/cash partial refund.
  3. Ask that you consider making your refund a donation to the league.We are not going anywhere and when it is okay to play baseball, we will play.Upkeep of the facility, mowing and other expenses do not go away.It would be considered very gracious by the Board as we continue to make Federal Little League one of the best leagues around.

If you have any questions or concerns, please, feel free to reach out to your league player agent.  They will be able to answer your questions or will get you an answer asap.  If for any reason you decide not to participate, we would kindly ask you provide a reason for not resuming.  This information will be used as we look at fall ball and what the circumstances are heading into next season.  If you are a manager or coach that has questions or concerns, please reach out to your division VP.

                Liz Cosens, Player Agent – Majors/Player Pitch, [email protected]

                Stephanie Nalley, Player Agent – Coach Pitch/Tball, [email protected]

As always, league President, Mike Bratburd is available as well to answer questions and help in any way, his email is below.

[email protected]

Thank you all very much!  We miss our families and players incredibly right now.  We hope to see you all at the ballpark sometime SOON!!!!

 

Federal Little League, Board of Directors

 

 

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