Coronavirus: Western Canadian Baseball League cancels 2020 season

Coronavirus: Western Canadian Baseball League cancels 2020 season
WATCH: The Western Canadian Baseball League has cancelled its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Western Canadian Baseball League has cancelled its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The league’s board of governors voted unanimously in favour of the decision on Wednesday.

“This difficult decision was based on our number 1 concern, the health and safety needs of all involved,” the league stated in a press release.

“Following the federal, provincial and municipal government health guidelines and medical recommendations, the league determined it would be impossible to guarantee the safety of players, coaches, umpires, host families, staff, volunteers and fans during the COVID-19 pandemic situation to the extent required by authorities.”

READ MORE: Western Canadian Baseball League delays start to 2020 season amid coronavirus pandemic

WCBL teams were on board with the decision to cancel.

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“There wasn’t maybe 30 seconds discussion on the matter so everybody was on the same page and realized that you know, we’re done,” said Gary Brotzel, Regina Red Sox president.

Brotzel said it will hurt financially, but said it would be costlier to play games while keeping COVID-19 restrictions in mind.

“I think we would have lost four times playing. I kind of re-worked our budget based on a 30 per cent decline in attendance, which that might have been a little on the light side,” Brotzel said.

“We don’t really know how many people would come out, and yeah we would probably lose a couple hundred thousand dollars playing.”

Before making the decision to cancel the season, the league said it explored multiple options that included pushing the start date to July 4 and playing with only Canadian players.

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“With the federal government announcing that the border will remain closed until at least June 22 and that people must self-isolate for 14 days once they cross the border, we would not have enough time to carry out a season,” the league said.

“Gathering size and social distancing were also major factors. With the provincial governments announcing that gathering sizes are restricted to 50 persons, teams would face serious challenges trying to get fans into the stadiums. Social distancing would be a challenge in clubhouses and especially on buses that teams must use for travel purposes.”

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The league said it also explored reducing stadium capacities to allow for better social distancing and thought about operating with temperature checks and masks.

“Unfortunately, our franchises will not be able to adjust to the economic impact of such a model due to the reality that our teams rely mainly on park-generated revenues plus the community initiatives to fund operations,” the league said.

“The league and its teams would like to thank all the players who signed to play baseball in the WCBL this summer.

“To our fans and communities, thank you very much for the continued support through these unprecedented times.”

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The WCBL is a 10-team league involving six teams in Alberta and four teams in Saskatchewan.