The hope among MINK League officials and member teams is that the summer baseball season will open on its original scheduled start date of May 27.
At least, that’s the plan for now.
MINK League president Ky Turner and commissioner Ron Rodriguez issued a statement on March 17 regarding the 2020 summer season and COVID-19, saying league officials “are optimistic and hopeful that the league will be able to begin on May 27 as planned.”
“The MINK League understands and supports the decision being made across the nation during this time,” the statement read. “The MINK League’s number one goal is to provide a safe environment for players, coaches, fans, host families, staff, and all of the tremendous people who are a part of the MINK League. League officials continue to monitor developments during this fluid situation.”
The statement also noted that each member team is welcoming college seniors who have been granted an additional year of eligibility.
“We will continue to prepare for the 2020 season and provide updates as we progress,” the statement read.
On Tuesday, Joplin Outlaws president and general manager Mark Rains echoed the league’s statement, noting that he and the rest of the team presidents will continue to closely monitor the developments of the viral outbreak in the coming weeks.
“The safety of our players, coaches, fans and everyone involved is our top priority,” Rains said. “As of right now, the plan is to follow through with opening day (on May 27). Things can obviously change in the coming weeks. So we’ll convene at a later time — probably three or four weeks from now — to discuss options.”
One potential option, according to Rains, is to postpone the league’s opening day for two weeks.
“We’ve also considered the players and how the cancellation of their spring seasons will affect their conditioning and preparedness for the summer season,” Rains added. “One way to alleviate that could be an extension of our mandatory preseason practices.
“I think most players are still going through their own workouts to stay in shape, but it wouldn’t hurt to have an additional week of team practices to ensure they’re ready for the (MINK League) season. Typically, those preseason practices are held two days before the start of the season.”
The Outlaws are scheduled to begin their season in a nonleague doubleheader against teams from the Show-Me League on May 27 in Springfield. Their first league game is scheduled for May 29 against first-year MINK League member Clinton at Joe Becker Stadium.
CHANUTE TEAM RELOCATES TO CLINTON
On March 19, the MINK League announced that Clinton team owner Titus Bond had relocated his to-be-named franchise from Chanute, Kansas.
“Bond relocated his franchise due to field availability in Chanute,” the league statement read. “The coaching staff and roster will remain the same.”
Clinton will play its home games at Wagoner Memorial Field and remain in the South Division with Joplin, Sedalia, Nevada and Jefferson City.
“The team is hosting a name-the-team contest and plans to announce a team name and logo by March 25,” the statement continued. “People may enter nominations for the new team name by visiting the Clinton Baseball team Facebook page at fb.me/clintonbaseball2020.”