Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League officials will be meeting Monday to decide how to proceed with the league’s 2020 season, and though a delayed start is likely, Amsterdam Mohawks team president Brian Spagnola said that an outright cancellation of the season is not on the table.
The season is currently scheduled to start May 29, but with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” executive order currently in effect through at least May 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Spagnola said it’s likely the PGCBL will choose to push back its start date.
“Obviously, the May dates aren’t overly promising right now,” Spagnola said Thursday in a phone interview. “We haven’t officially canceled those yet, but when we meet on Monday, we’re going to make a determination on them and what the new start date is. We won’t be canceling completely. That won’t be happening. It’ll just be announcements of a delayed opening.”
The PGCBL’s decision will come a little more than a week after the country’s premier summer collegiate baseball league, the Cape Cod League, made the decision to cancel its 2020 season.
A release announcing the cancellation of the Cape Cod League season said the decision “was based on the health concerns and safety needs of all involved.
Following [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] 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.”
Spagnola said the PGCBL is in a different boat from the Cape Cod League.
“I know they had lost a lot of host families, and obviously on the Cape you’re not getting housing for the summer for kids,” Spagnola said. “I think we’re a little bit of a different animal. We have alternate forms of housing, or the ability to get local players. I don’t think the Cape has that many local players there.”
Spagnola said the Mohawks have reached out and signed several local players, and are prepared to add even more if players from outside the region are not able to travel to New York for the summer.
Amsterdam’s official roster currently lists two players with Capital Region ties — Amsterdam High School graduate Dale Stanavich of Herkimer Community College and Shenendehowa High School product Brendan Disonell of Stony Brook — with most of the rest of the team coming from power conference programs like Wake Forest and Mississippi State.
Spagnola said the Mohawks and other PGCBL teams are prepared to roll with the punches.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of great players around here,” he said. “They’re not going to be as talented as the guys we get from the big schools, but it would still be fine for us. I don’t think the Cape would do that.”
Spagnola said that most of the Mohawks’ usual host families are taking a “wait and see” attitude.
“Everything’s still on hold,” he said. “We haven’t had in-depth conversations [with host families] saying ‘Are you in or out?’ I don’t think anyone could give a full decision.”
The PGCBL has not issued an official statement since March 14, immediately following the cancellation of the NCAA spring sports season. In that release, league president Robert Julian said, “We will follow all of the CDC recommendations and standards as established by the NCAA and the baseball industry with regard to commencing the season and protecting the health and well-being of the players, our staff and fans. However, we look forward with optimism that our season will commence, and we are making preparations accordingly.”
Once the league makes its decision on a start date and roster construction, there’s also the subject of fan attendance. Spagnola said preparations are being made for any possible option — full crowds, partial crowds or no crowds.
“You hope,” he said, “that there’s somewhere between Plan A, which is normalcy, and Plan Z, which is to cancel everything. Hopefully, there’s a plan that works.”