Cape Cod Baseball League cancels 2020 season due to coronavirus pandemic

For the past 73 years, many of the best collegiate baseball players have flocked to the idyllic summer destination of Cape Cod, Massachusetts for a chance to sharpen their skills in hopes of garnering attention from Major League Baseball. Nearly 300 players participate in the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL), a premier collegiate summer league, every summer.

On Friday, however, the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) announced it had cancelled its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was made through an unanimous vote from the league’s 27-member executive committee.

“The Cape Cod Baseball League Executive Committee has voted unanimously to cancel the 2020 Cape Cod Baseball League season,” the league said in a statement. “The decision was based on the health concerns and safety needs of all involved. Following CDC guidelines and medical recommendations, the league determined it would be impossible to guarantee the safety of players, coaches, umpires, host families, volunteers and fans during this unprecedented health crisis.

“We would like to thank all our dedicated volunteers and sponsors for their support and look forward to playing again in 2021. Thank you for your continued support and stay safe and healthy.”

The 10-team CCBL was scheduled to begin its 44-game regular season on June 13. The league also hosts an All-Star Game and Home Run Derby along with an action-packed postseason. The last summer without a season on the Cape was in 1945, when the league was shutdown due to World War II.

League president Chuck Sturtevant told the Cape Cod Times that Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker’s decision earlier in the week to keep public schools closed for the remainder of the academic year was one of the reasons that prompted the decision to cancel the season.

The league, a non-profit organization, is run entirely by volunteers, with players spending their summers with host families and teams operating with volunteer staff. The Cape league also offers daytime summer baseball clinics for youth players. Sturtevant said being unable to guarantee everyone’s safety was the deciding factor. 

In March, the NCAA cancelled all winter and spring championships, which included the shutdown of the College World Series. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MLB first-year draft was forced to undergo changes, and the adjustments will have long-term ramifications, impacting the sport at the college, minor-league, international and MLB levels.

Often considered one of the best pipelines for future MLB stars, the CCBL has produced more than 1,250 MLB players, including current MLB stars like Kris Bryant, Aaron Judge and Chris Sale. Hall of Famers Frank Thomas, Craig Biggio, Pie Traynor, Carlton Fisk and Jeff Bagwell all spent summers playing on the Cape.

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