Now that the calendar has turned to August, typically, the Little League® International Tournament season would be heading for an exciting conclusion and planning for fall ball season would have begun. This has not been a typical year. As local Little League programs throughout the world are continuing to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic, Little League Sandlot Fun Days and fall ball activities can serve as motivation for you and your Little Leaguers® to stay positive. There are many questions, and the answers continue to evolve as the battle against the Coronavirus develops and all our communities decide what to do with the remainder of the summer and fall. For parents, grandparents, and guardians of Little Leaguers, Your Voice is a way to share questions with Little League, and an opportunity for us to provide some important information and guidance. Over the past several weeks you have proposed a vast assortment of questions and we have assembled a comprehensive collection of FAQs. Here are the queries that parents should focus on. We invite you to share your thoughts, suggestions, and questions.
Jerry from Missouri – The “regular season,” even without having a district all-star team, has been great for my children who have been all-stars in past years. They had a lot of fun without the pressure that comes with all-star practices and games. Do you think leagues can continue playing regular season even when the all-stars come back next year?
Little League – Absolutely. How your league approaches the regular season and tournament participation is a decision made solely by the league. Tournament play is a choice, and a great opportunity for those players selected to a team, but regular season practices and games do not need to stop because the Little League International Tournament begins. Speak with your league’s leadership about continuing to have additional local league activities, whether that’s a structured second season or taking advantage of Little League Sandlot Fun Days, during the summer months.
Jeannette from Texas – There has been so much confusion this year because of the different phases of re-opening, so I decided to volunteer as a coach, hoping to help out during the rest of this season and again next season. Will my background check cover me for the rest of this season and next season?
Little League – Any background check done prior to October 1 for 2020 activities will remain valid until the end of the calendar year. If the Fall Ball, Training and Development, or Little League Sandlot Fun Days are to be held after October 1, and you do your background check after that date to volunteer for your league’s fall 2020 activities, that background check will also be valid for your league’s spring and summer activities in 2021, and will be attributed to your league’s 2021 allotment of 125 free background checks.
Mateo from California – How do I find out what my local league is planning for the 2021 season?
Little League – The fiscal year for a local Little League program concludes at the end of September. Leading up to the start of the new league year on October 1, the Board of Directors sets a date and time for its annual meeting. At the annual meeting, there are several components that are discussed, including the election of new Board officers and President. Leading up to the annual meeting, parents, volunteers, and others associated with the league, may contact current league officers to pose questions or make suggestions that are often presented during the annual meeting. It’s important to remember that those annual meetings and elections may be shifted to online meetings or delayed due to the Coronavirus. Plans for the coming year are also part of the conversation once the new Board of Directors is seated and operating committees begin to form.
Tammy from Virginia – In my district, some leagues have had days where the players are coaching and umpiring. Seems like fun. I’d like to find out more about what goes into host these days?
Little League – Along with alternate methods of play that were introduced earlier this year, Little League has also developed a new Little League Sandlot Fun Days program. What you heard about were the Sandlot Fun Days events that offer Little Leaguers the chance to play a game that is designed for kids and that is run by kids, including picking and managing teams and serving as the umpires. There are certain guidelines, and there are adults around to ensure safety, but the games are run solely by the players. You can learn more by visiting LittleLeague.org/SandlotFunDays.
Ed from Massachusetts – In an effort to control the crowd size at our local playoff games during this delayed pandemic season, our league is looking to see if it can get our local cable access channel to broadcast our games or show them on online. Is either way an option for us to what games?
Little League – We all want to support our children and root them on. Generally, for games, leagues should do their best to limit the number of people at a site, practice social distancing, and spectators should wear masks. One way to play the games and limit large crowds is to broadcast the games on the radio or local television, which does require a contract. Live streaming games utilizing the league’s social media page or website is also a simple solution that may be easy for your league to take advantage of. Best practices can be found at LittleLeague.org/2020ReturntoPlay. Certainly, these guidelines can be adjusted by the local league as the summer progresses, in accordance with state and local recommendations.