Within a league that houses Class B and Class C teams, a true Classic Cannon Valley League championship might be out of the picture at this point.
As the start of the 2020 amateur baseball season continues to be pushed back, the potential frameworks for a schedule grow increasingly smaller by each week that passes without teams on the field.
After Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’ press conference last Friday, in which baseball was determined to be a medium-risk sport when it comes to the spread of COVID-19, more doubt was placed into the possibility of baseball this summer.
“At the team and the league level, we’re really waiting on direction from the Minnesota Baseball Association state board,” CCVL Secretary-Treasurer and Section 1B Commissioner Dan Swanson said. “They’ve really been working in closer contact with state government leaders.”
Right now, baseball games are off the table for an undetermined amount of time, although practices have been permitted for the past couple weeks.
In terms of Class B teams, the CCVL sports the Dundas Dukes, Hampton Cardinals, Miesville Mudhens, Northfield Knights and Rocheter Royals. The remaining Class C teams are the Cannon Falls Bears, Hastings Hawks, Lake City Serpents and Red Wing Aces.
When Swanson said he first started mapping out potential league schedules a month ago, he said the most likely date to start was June 3.
“Everybody was playing everybody twice, and it really had minimal impact to teams,” Swanson said.
After the start of June came and passed, the focus turned to a July 1 start.
Since Class C teams start their postseasons in late July, the likelihood of including them in a fair and balanced regular season seemed infeasible.
As a result, the CCVL Class C teams would play a regular-season schedule filled with their region opponents, while the CCVL Class B teams will play their CCVL counterparts in Section 1B, along with the Elko Express and New Market Muskies, who are Section 1B teams that compete in the Dakota-Rice-Scott League.
“The thought was if we could get going on July 1, there’s seven Class B teams in our section, so that’s 12 games,” Swanson said. “You play everybody twice and I could easily throw together a 12-game schedule, which would still be in my opinion a meaningful schedule. You could even throw in a couple extra non-league games or play the Class C teams.”
As the MBA continues to lobby with the State of Minnesota to allow the start of amateur baseball, though, Swanson said the league might start shifting to talking with local governments about use of city fields and ballparks.
Swanson said he suggested CCVL teams reach out to city officials about whether they might allow baseball, even if the state still recommends against it. The City of Rochester said it’s following the lead of state officials, meaning the Rochester Royals will not be able to use Mayo Field until Walz gives the go-ahead.
The Miesville Mudhens, meanwhile, own and operate Jack Ruhr Field, meaning they might not need city or state approval to host a game.
“It’s a real mixed bag, is the summary here,” Swanson said. “I’m not sure how it’s going to work out and if some teams can use their field and if some teams can’t use their field. In my opinion, it’s going to be a bit of a mess.”