The Northwoods League, which previously stated it would need to postpone its scheduled May 26 start date due to Wisconsin’s “Safer at Home” order, announced it is postponing the start of the season indefinitely on Thursday.
The League, which consists of 22 teams in seven states and Canada, cited current governmental restrictions for the decision.
“The League will continue to monitor the specific situation in each of the communities where it operates to see where play might safely commence, consider the league-wide impacts of each location’s status, and will adjust various contingency plans accordingly,” the Northwoods said in a statement. “Following this process, the League will continue to make frequent assessments, taking into consideration any local and state-wide updates, and will immediately communicate any further changes to the status of the League schedule.”
The Express were scheduled to start the season on May 26 at the Thunder Bay Border Cats and open the home slate on May 30 against the Willmar Stingers.
Other summer baseball leagues have already called off their seasons, the Cape Cod Baseball League being the most prominent of the bunch. The CCBL’s executive committee voted unanimously to cancel the season, as announced on April 24.
“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,” wrote the CCBL’s public relations office.
And while the CCBL only has to worry about the restrictions in Massachusetts, the Northwoods needs to balance orders in multiple states and two countries.
“Because the situation changes almost daily, and differently in each area where the League operates, our approach is to remain creative, nimble, and adaptable to how each situation unfolds throughout the entire League footprint so that where and when baseball can safely be played, it will be played,” the Northwoods wrote.
Rumored Major League Baseball return-to-play proposals, as well as baseball restart plans already put in place in South Korea and Taiwan, feature empty stands to limit the potential transfer of COVID-19.
But Northwoods president Gary Hoover told the Leader-Telegram in April that playing without fans was not a feasible plan for the league. Playing with limited fans would be considered.