The Little League World Series today announced that there will be no Little League World Series or any of the other baseball and softball events put on by Little League International in 2020 because of the novel coronavirus.
After a thorough assessment of the impact the devastating COVID-19 pandemic has had on 6,500 community-based Little League® programs in 84 countries and based upon the direction of governmental and public health authorities, and in consultation with medical professionals and our Board of Directors, Little League International has made the difficult and disappointing decision to cancel its seven World Series tournaments and their respective regional qualifying events.
“This is a heartbreaking decision for everyone at Little League International, but more so for those millions of Little Leaguers who have dreamt of one day playing in one of our seven World Series events,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “After exhausting all possible options, we came to the conclusion that because of the significant public health uncertainty that will still exist several months from now, and with direction from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, as well as senior public health officials and government leaders from locations where our other six World Series are held, as well as the their qualifying regional tournaments, it will not be possible to proceed with our tournaments as we’ve hosted them for nearly 75 years.”
Little League is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with millions of players and over one million adult volunteers in all 50 U.S. states and 80 countries. Though the event you see on ESPN each year is for 11-to-13-year-olds, the organization has players ranging from tee ball at age 4 to “Big League” which plays on regulation-sized fields for boys up to age 16.
The cancellation could even more devastating for the residents of Williamsport, who count on the economic impact of the LLWS each year. It could be getting worse as the local minor league team, the Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York-Penn League, could be in jeopardy with the realignment of Minor League Baseball being proposed by MLB.
And unfortunately for about half the players that had dreams of being on national television with their friends and teammates, there won’t be a next year to try again as the age requirements won’t change.