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Upon further review…

The New Ulm City Council is holding a special meeting today for a replay and review of its decision last week to allow Johnson and Mueller parks to be used to host the Minnesota State Amateur Baseball Tournament.

The New Ulm Baseball Association has been working hard since being awarded the tournament a couple of years ago. The city has been doing all it can, especially in getting the Johnson Park remodeling done this summer for the tournament. In a normal year hosting the baseball tournament is a great honor and opportunity to showcase the city.

But this is not a normal year. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live. People have been staying home from work, bars and restaurants have been closed, schools have had to teach students from afar, and people are now required to wear masks indoors in public areas, all to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus from person to person.

Is this really the time to be hosting a tournament, spread over three weekends, that will bring dozens of teams and all their families and fans to New Ulm and Springfield, which is also hostings some games, from around the state?

We’re sure the Minnesota Baseball Association and the New Ulm Baseball Association is planning to follow all the regulations from the state that are intended to keep people safe — limiting crowds to 250 fans, setting up hand sanitizing stations around the parks, requiring six-foot social distancing, sanitizing the stands between games, and so on. But the opportunity for the virus to spread increases with each person who comes to town. These players and fans will be staying in hotels, eating in restaurants and

A letter to the city council from a group of physicians in town warns of the possibility of someone infected but showing no symptoms spreading the virus in town. They also warn that an outbreak could overwhelm the city’s hospital facilities and staff.

Others raise the issue of the tournament being held so close to the beginning of the school year, and call for the council to consider the need to get students safely back into school before the need to host a baseball tournament.

Brown County has been lucky so far when it comes to COVID-19 cases, but the number has been increasing. There have been ten new cases in the county in the last week. We are not immune.

As much as we hate to say it, the risks outweigh the benefits of hosting this tournament. We think the Minnesota Baseball Association should ask themselves the same question — is it really worth it to hold this tournament in 2020? But if they are intent on holding it, we think the New Ulm City Council should respectfully decline to be part of it.

We appreciate the hard work and dedication of the New Ulm Baseball Association in getting ready for this tournament, only to be stuck with this situation. We know it is an opportunity that may not come again soon, but these are difficult times.

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