The Ottawa American Legion is planning to play baseball this summer.
“We are hoping things will be normal and the boys will get to play,” Luke Queen, Ottawa American Legion baseball board member, said. “All we can do is plan for that.”
Players can register online on the Ottawa American Legion web page.
“I know the coaches are keeping in touch with the (players) through text messages,” Queen said.
The Ottawa board will wait as long as possible before canceling the season, Queen said.
“We all know you only get so many games in your life,” he said. “You want to try and give them as many as you can. A lot of other organizations have canceled out seasons. If we can hang on and give these kids an opportunity, we want to be able to do that because there has been enough taken away from them.”
The board knew since mid-March when high school spring sports were canceled that this could be a much different summer.
“We said from the get-go we knew there was still hope,” Queen said. “We did not want to overreact and shut anything down. We wanted to keep that hope out there. We want the kids to be able to play, to get the experience, exposure and have as much fun as they can. It is all predicated on decisions made by people above us. We are still six weeks away from when we would get together. We are going week-by-week at this point.”
The earliest the squad could be together is Memorial Day weekend per KSHSAA rules.
Queen said as of now, the zone and state tournaments are on as scheduled.
“I have not talked to the state (board) about it for a week or so,” he said. “At some point, the state will have to have that drop-dead date where if there is no relative end in sight until mid-August, there is no way we can (play). If it does come to that, we will have to make adjustments and decisions.”
Queen said there are other options being discussed to playing at least a partial season.
“We want to play, but we have to be smart for the kids’ sake, parents, grandparents and anyone else that comes to watch these boys,” Queen said. “If it came to where we have to cancel zones and states, there has been discussions with local boards in other places, that if July 1 is here and it opens back up, would there be a way to play games. We could play the month of July, so the boys would at least be out there. Those discussions have started.”
The national tournament has been canceled, which may give Kansas an opportunity to play later into the summer.
“If the start of our season is pushed back a couple of weeks or whatever it might be, we can still play,” Queen said. “The state tournaments may be pushed back and give the summer (season) a little longer, so the kids can play.”
Queen understands the national office’s position with its financial obligations in putting on regional and national tournaments.
“There is hope the curve will flatten and go down,” Queen said. “Safety is the top of things.”
Queen has been in contact with other Legion baseball organizations throughout Kansas and said they are approaching the season the same way.
“We are in a holding pattern,” he said. “Keeping the opportunity available is all we can do. We have schedules built. We have plans to play in tournaments and do our normal things. If we are forced to cut out something or push back, we will understand the change. Those adjustments will be made at the time.”
Ottawa is scheduled to open the season the first weekend in June with the Jim Allen Tournament at Orlis Cox.
“It might be that we won’t get to host (our tournament),” Queen said. “We will have to pick up our schedule where we are at. Obviously, we will be adjusting if need be.”