Dear Little League® Families and Volunteers,
It’s officially spring. We should be getting out our lawn chairs, celebrating opening days, and hitting the Little League fields. We’re not.
We know you want to get out and play baseball and softball, so do we. The time spent on fields around the world is so important – where memories are made, and life lessons are learned.
Over the past few days, as we have announced our recommendation to refrain from Little League-related activities until May 11, we’ve heard from many of you. As this situation evolves, Little League International is committed to sharing the best guidance possible for all its 6,500 leagues in more than 84 countries. We are here for you.
First, it is our sincere hope that we can find ways to bring everyone back to the Little League fields this season, whether that’s later this spring, throughout the summer, or into the fall. This year’s Little League season won’t be the traditional one that we’ve held for more than 80 years, but this is about more than just a Little League season.
We are closely consulting with appropriate medical advisers and our volunteer leaders around the world, and we are committed to doing the best thing for the safety and well-being of all our players, families, volunteers, and fans. As soon as our public health authorities say it’s safe to gather again, we are committed to working with our leagues to helping them get those playing opportunities underway when appropriate.
At this time, Little League International is also working through all possible scenarios for the 2020 Little League International Tournament, including our seven Little League World Series tournaments, and tournament eligibility for our leagues and players.
The Little League experience is a rite of passage for so many children, and we know that this is frustrating and sad, especially for those players in their 12-year-old season. We sincerely hope that everyone gets an opportunity to play this year, and we’ll work hard to make that happen as soon as we can.
Most importantly, we ask you for your patience. Your Little League program’s leadership is working hard to understand how the Coronavirus is going to impact them locally. We know that many leagues have been working hard to prepare to provide a great Little League experience for the families of their community and have already ordered equipment, jerseys, and other associated items for the season. We are urging all parents and families to be patient as we work with their local Little League programs throughout this ever-evolving situation.
Because each local Little League program is an independent organization, the local leadership must ultimately make the decision whether to continue as usual, or to suspend league activities. We encourage parents to require their league and district leadership to follow the CDC recommended guidelines.
While this means that we need to take a break from gathering at Little League-organized activities, the games of baseball and softball live on. Go outside and have a catch, time your speed running 60 feet (or 70 or 90), take some swings off the tee. We encourage you to check out our resources on LittleLeagueUniversity.org including our Backyard Tips. Also, we’ll be showing archived Little League World Series baseball and softball games on Facebook.com/LittleLeague, and the World of Little League® Museum has virtual educational opportunities through Facebook, as well.
Perhaps what we’re most excited about is our Little League Pep Talks. Messages from former Little League Baseball® World Series star, Todd Frazier, and Olympic Softball Medalist, Cat Osterman, MLB Network Broadcaster, Harold Reynolds, and ESPN Analyst, Jessica Mendoza, and many more are providing Little Leaguers® all around the world with a sense of positivity and hope as communities work together to stop the spread and return to the ballfields. We encourage you to follow #LLPepTalk on social media and even make your own Pep Talk that you can tag @LittleLeague in and share using the hashtag.
There are countless suggestions and resources available, and we urge you to follow the information available through World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your state’s public health department (click here for a listing of state public health departments), and other county and/or local authorities including precedents set by area school districts and government agencies.
This is bigger than Little League, and if we work together, it is our hope that by suspending/delaying our Little League seasons, we will all play a small, but important part in flattening the curve in the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Thank you all for your support, understanding, and patience.
We will be thinking of our global Little League community during this difficult time.
Stephen D. Keener
Little League President and CEO