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MBA sends a letter to Walz to get amateur baseball up and running

NEW ULM — In an effort to get amateur baseball started in Minnesota, the Minnesota Baseball Association (MBA) has sent a letter to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz outlining 10 proposed guidelines that teams would follow if Walz elects to open up amateur baseball.

MBA President Fred Roufs said that the proposals sent to Walz are:

1. To encourage social distancing by spectators inside the park. The size of our stadiums makes this easy to accomplish.

2. Social distancing of players in dugouts, bullpens and outside the dugout to the outfield side if needed.

3. Hand sanitizer available in both dugouts and concession stand.

4. No handshakes, high fives or unneeded contact of any kind.

5. Players should avoid sharing gear.

6. Players will label and bring their own water or sports drink. No water fountains can be used under any circumstances.

7. No spitting of any kind including sunflower seeds, chewing tobacco, etc.

8. Face masks and gloves may be worn by players, fans and umpires.

9. Face masks and gloves must be worn by all concession stand workers.

10. Home plate umpires can choose to stand behind the catcher or the pitcher.

Roufs said that these guidelines will be posted in every dugout and read by the PA announcer before every game.

Roufs said that the majority of the amateur teams still want to play baseball.

“But we still may have players, fans, umpires and entire teams that may say that this is something that we are not going to do and not play baseball this season,” Roufs said. “And if the Governor shut us down, we will not have a state tournament this year in New Ulm.”

Roufs added that Walz has opened up churches for weddings and funerals indoors.

“We have more space and we are outdoors so open us up at 25 percent capacity,” he said. “If New Ulm can handle 1,000 people, let us open up at 250 fans. That is what we propose they open up at. Churches went from 10 to 50 and now to 250. Baseball may open and see how we operate and then go.”

No masks wil be required in the press box but Roufs does expect social distancing there.

“The radios and press may have to sit outside the press box,” Roufs said.

New Ulm Baseball Association President Bob Skillings said that if there is state tournament this year that it “will be difficult under some guidelines that make it hard not only for the host but also the volunteers, the fans and the teams. This will be a whole different type of baseball. But at this point we do not have any answers as to whether we can have a season or a tournament. We are still waiting. Two big revenue generators for us was the tournament book, which we wanted to be about 150 pages with a lot of great New Ulm area baseball history with a lot of advertisers in there. We had also lined up several sponsors. We had lined up several local businesses and that was also a source of revenue. But in both cases that has dried up. The admission fees for games does not go to the host city, that goes to the state board. And our concessions are going to be lower with limited fans and limited menu.

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