Batter Up! A Youth Team Holds Tryouts During the COVID Crisis

All photos and video by Mark McKenna

As summer approaches in the time of the COVID crisis, coaches and athletes look for new ways to practice the sports they love. On Wednesday, about 50 hopeful youths showed up throughout a series of tryouts spaced in intervals at Redwood Fields in Cutten. They hope to be chosen for the Humboldt Eagles baseball team–the first local youth team to begin activities after the spread of the pandemic forced sports to go on hiatus.

As each session progressed, the youth spread out to work in groups of six. As they practiced, the crisp smack of the bat, the thud of a mitt closing over a fast ball mixed with the muffled voices of coaches shouting through cloth echoed both traditional tryouts and highlighted the new reality where young and old were required to wear masks when they arrive and when they are close to each other.

Normally, youth trying out for baseball teams is as American and uncontroversial as apple pie but, in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, restarting the sport is cause for debate. On the one hand, the NCAA has voted to approve allowing some sports to begin on college campuses June 1. On the other, Dr. Anthony Fauci–director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), advisor to the Trump administration, and passionate Washington Nationals fan–has urged caution and using a strategy of testing and isolating athletes to make sure the novel coronavirus does not spread among teams and to families.

Fauci noted though, ““I hope that there’s some form of baseball this summer, even if it’s just for TV…I feel that strongly, one, because I’m an avid baseball fan but also because it’s for the country’s mental health to have the great American pastime be seen.”

However, Fauci is mostly addressing professional teams, not student athletes with families that they return home to. And youth leagues unlike professional teams do not have the money for extensive testing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released some guidelines last week. The guidelines caution, “The more people a child or coach interacts with, the closer the physical  interaction, the more sharing of equipment there is by multiple players, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.”

On April 19, Humboldt County Sheriff Billy Honsal said, “[W]e will follow up with [sports teams who restart] and make sure that they are following the guidelines as outlined by California Department of Public health and our local health officer.”

Neither of the other two local American Legion teams are holding tryouts at this time. Reportedly they will reevaluate in early June.

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23 comments

  • Great idea outside activity. What a great invention ❤⚾️

  • Play Ball, this has been going on far too long
    If the kids and their parents are Okay with it get it on. I personally would go to some of the games, and not be afraid of having to deal with some silly virus

    • You can’t stop apple pie n baseball. To all the soldiers who died in belief that freedom will always prevail, salute! And we have liberals saying this Memorial Day should honor covid 19 deaths, sorry, that ain’t happening. More socialism smoke n mirrors BS.

      • You have a problem with people who died getting a little respect….C’mon…

        • I don’t kym. But Memorial Day is for soldiers and military NOT to be piggy backed for left adgenda. Do you agree? No, I won’t “celebrate” or mourn covid 19 deaths today. Have some respect for those who gave there lives for this country and its vision of freedom. Kym, maybe we should piggyback the writing of the Koran on Christmas while we’re at it. National Covid Day is November 5th, we all know that!

          • Hmmm. I thought Trump was calling himself a “wartime president”, and that we were waging a war against an “invisible enemy”, meaning the virus. Sounds like Covid victims make the grade for being honored on Memorial Day to me.

            • Would about AIDS deaths? Should we throw them in on Memorial Day? Obama claimed that’s a “war” too? Can we just give one fuking day to vets and not focus on covid deaths for 24 hours? I’ll leave it as that….

      • I wish there were a vaccine for ignorance. Keep being a sheep.

      • As a Viet Nam vet with 4 years of honorable service who lost friends over there and a political lefty I resent your continuing claim that we don’t care about the future of our country. When the president spouted his usual uninformed tweet that COVID was a “democratic hoax” many of his followers turned off their brains. The fact that many of you really think this tragedy is all about getting to Trump is one of the dumbest of the numerous conspiracy theories you and he believe. His latest fraud about Scarborough being a murder is just another disgusting diversion from anything real. The jerk is a compulsive liar. I lost track of all the lies and exaggerations he spouts constantly. And by the way exaggerations are not the truth. He started lying about his inageration crowd size and hasn’t stopped.

  • Lynn Cunningham

    I’m SO happy for these kids. Thank you Eagles for not calling it a season done. Go Eagles! Bode boys back at it.⚾️

  • This ^ & this v

  • Looking good! The red white and blue mask is great. It would be a patriotic addition to the uniform! Having fun outside is so positive for everyone.

  • Baseball or grandparents Hummm that’s a tough call

    • You think very simply. Expand your thought please to the very real damages of the lockdown.

      • Roughly 150,000 Have died in the last 3 months due to not being able to get proper dr appoints, checkups and/or being afraid to enter a hospital setting due to hysteria of this flu “crisis”. Suicide hotline is up by 600%! Unemployment, homelessness, the list is long and the damage is done.we have done this to these people through our own fear and ignorance. You are to blame. Sheep don’t help each other when being attacked, they just run and watch the other sheep get slaughtered. Sheep are dumb and care for nothing but there own safety. Wolves will die in numbers to protect there pack and alpha leaders and view sacrifice as a means of survival for the rest. Wolves are intelligent and fearless.

        But yeah, wear your mask, follow orders blindly and dont question authority…. your saving lives….

        • Well let them practice. I might be wrong, but didn’t American Legion cancel the upcoming season? Thought I read that. Then again maybe not..

        • let's spend more on education in this country

          Let me guess. You got your numbers from the jackass in the Whitehouse, right?

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