The Albany Twilight League Tuesday night announced the cancellation of its 2020 baseball season, marking yet another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Capital Region institution, the league for players 18 and older was founded in 1930, and played its first games in 1931.
"It was a tough decision," said Albany Twilight League secretary and public relations coordinator Joe Altieri. "We had four meetings with the coaches going back to March, and we decided June 2 would be the date we decided the fate of our season. There are so many factors. Health and safety is the biggest one."
This year, the eight-team league was to include the Albany Athletics, Albany Senators, Albany Thunder and Twin Town Devil Cats in the Haack Division, and the Blue Jays, Waterford Nationals, Capital City Kings and Troy Haymakers in the Tholl Division.
The Albany Athletics, with Altieri serving as general manager and head coach, won their fourth straight league title in 2019, and their 10th since 2006.
"It is with great disappointment and sadness, the Albany Twilight League announces the cancellation of the 2020 season due to the impact of COVID-19," Altieri wrote on the league's Twitter page. "The league was looking forward to celebrating its 90th season this summer and seeing a significant influx of new college players this year but our priority was player, coach and fan safety as well as the management of it, the suitability and readiness of facilities, and being fiscally responsible all in a short timeline to play quality baseball."
Altieri said social distance protocols due to the coronavirus were a chief concern, and wasn't certain if the league could adhere to them in the proper manner.
"We are not even sure at this time what the protocols would be that we would have to have in place," he said.
League games were to be played at Bleecker Stadium and at Saint Rose in Albany, and at Waterford Town Park, and Altieri said the earliest starting date would have been July 8 due to the time it would take to prepare the fields for play. The league was originally slated to begin play May 15.
"If we were to open July 8, we would have had to be out of Bleecker by Aug. 10 because the schools need two weeks to get them ready [for the Aug. 24 fall season start date]," Altieri said. "That was another factor we looked at."
Altieri said he expected the league's division races would have been tight this season with an influx of talent.
"We had a lot of collegiate players even before the Perfect Game league cancelled," Altieri said. "A lot of teams closed the gap as far as being competitive at a high level."
Altieri said the league intends to hold its annual golf fundraiser at Colonie Golf Course at a date to be determined in July or August, and more information will be forthcoming. He was unsure if a class would be selected for the league's hall of fame this year.
The Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League which includes the Amsterdam Mohawks, Albany Dutchmen and Glens Falls Dragons, canceled its 2020 season May 6 due to COVID-19 concerns.