On Thursday, the Little League World Series and Regional Tournaments were cancelled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While that is certainly bad news, there was also some good news in Little League's Thursday announcement as it left the door open for local Little Leagues to have a 2020 campaign. There can also be a District and State Williamsport Tournament, but it will end at the state level.
Little League advised local leagues to go by state guidelines, and Gloucester is planning on doing just that.
In Massachusetts, a stay at home advisory is in place until May 18, and Gloucester Little League, which has now merged with Rockport, is planning on starting up as soon as it can.
"We had a District 15 meeting this week and we were told to be prepared to have a season," Gloucester Little League President Jamie Marshall said. "Safety is the top priority for everyone and we are preparing to go forward with the season in the safest way possible. We are going to listen to the government guidelines and we will be prepared when we get the chance."
The good news for Little League baseball it that it is not under a huge time crunch. Baseball season can run deep into the summer and it does not face the same deadlines that a high school sports season faces, needing school to be in session to compete.
With time to put a season together the right way, Gloucester Little League is hoping to be in season by this summer as long as state guidelines allow it.
"Hopefully we can be into league play by the summer," Marshall said. "May 19 is the first date we can start at the moment and we are planning to start practices then unless we are told otherwise in the next two weeks. The weather is beautiful in the summer and we want to see the kids out there playing if they can. And we have no problems playing into August if we have to."
Marshall and Gloucester Little League have been preparing for the season whether it is able to happen or not.
New flag poles have been installed at both Boudreau and Wilson Field. A small group of volunteers have also been keeping the field in playing shape, while practicing social distancing in the process. Boudreau Field also has a new infield surface.
The District has also tossed around some ideas if there can not be an All-Star tournament.
"We have talked about a lot of ideas but nothing is official," Marshall said. "The district had an idea for a tournament featuring the individual local teams in the area, not All-Star teams. But our first priority is being prepared for a regular season."
Gloucester Little League is also deliberating on ways to make a season happen for some of the younger players such as the tee ball and coach pitch levels.
"We've discussed modifications for those leagues where they can safely play and follow some social distancing guidelines that may be in place even after we are allowed back out on the fields," Marshall said. "Overall we think the kids are going to be thirsty to get out there and play and we want to see them out there playing in the safest way we can. We're preparing to make that happen."