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Little League World Series Canceled For First Time

Baseballs sit on the ledge during the Championship Game of the Little League World Series between the Southwest Region team from River Ridge Louisiana and the Caribbean Region team from Willemstad, Curacao during the at Lamade Stadium on August 25, 2019 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – This year’s Little League World Series and the championship tournaments in six other Little League divisions have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Little League President Stephen Keener announced the cancellations in a Facebook Live broadcast Thursday afternoon from league headquarters in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, saying it would be “impossible” to hold the events amid ongoing restrictions on large gatherings and travel.

The Little League World Series has been held every August since 1947 and had never been canceled before. Next year was to be the 75th playing of the tournament; that milestone has been pushed back to 2022.

“Let me tell the folks in all those communities and all the sites where we have regional qualifying tournaments how disappointed we are to have to do this, but it was inevitable,” Keener said. “It would be irresponsible and impossible to bring teams and thousands of people from all over the world into the community of Williamsport as well as those six other communities that have been such great friends and supporters of ours over the years.”

He added that travel restrictions would make it equally impossible to hold qualifying tournaments for international teams and to bring those teams safely to the United States.

Little League has not, however, called off the 2020 regular season. Keener said there was reason for optimism that teams could play this spring and summer, depending on restrictions in states and localities.

The annual major league game in Williamsport, which this year was to feature the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 23, has been canceled, MLB said.

“While the cancellation of the 2020 Little League World Series is extremely disappointing, the health and safety of all of the people involved must be the paramount consideration. We look forward to our return to Williamsport for the 2021 MLB Little League Classic,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

Little League announced in March that the season was on hold until at least May 11 because of guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention against gatherings of 50 people or more.

After that date, Keener said, districts and leagues should look to states and localities for guidance on when or if the season can resume. He also urged districts to hold all-star tournaments to give kids at least a taste of the competition they’ll be missing missing with World Series qualifying scrapped.

“We will be very amenable to (changing) eligibility requirements and be very flexible to allow as many kids the opportunity to play as possible for whatever can remain of the 2020 Little League season,” he said.

Along with the Little League World Series, which is held in South Williamsport, the other events canceled were the World Series of Little League Softball in Greenville, North Carolina; Junior League Baseball in Taylor, Michigan; Junior League Softball in Kirkland, Washington; Senior League Baseball in Easley, South Carolina; and Senior League Softball in Sussex County, Delaware.

Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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