HUDSON, Wis.-- If there’s one common message coming from St. Croix Valley Baseball League teams right now, it’s that some baseball is better than no baseball.
The league officially postponed the start of its 2020 season during a video meeting of team managers April 5 . League president and Hudson River Rats manager Chris LeBreche said the managers will meet Sunday, May 3, to continue planning and discussions about what the 2020 season may look like.
“Right now our number one priority is the safety of our communities, teams, and players,” LeBreche said. “We’ll be taking our cues from national, state, and local public health officials as to when it will be safe to start playing ball again.”
That won’t be until at least after May 26, the date Gov. Tony Evers’ safer at home order expires in the state.
Some SCVBL teams were set to start non-league play this weekend while league competition was scheduled to begin May 9. Josh Eidem, whose defending league champion River Falls Fighting Fish team was set to open with a non-league game against the River Falls Groupers this Saturday, May 2, said his players understand that baseball won’t return until it’s safe.
“They would all rather be playing baseball but each of them has been really affected by life changes away from the park,” he said. “Just like everyone else in and around River Falls.”
LeBreche said SCVBL managers are committed to putting together some kind of season if 2020 allows, but the format would be dictated by the time available.
“We agreed that any baseball will be better than no baseball,” he said.
In addition to the River Falls Fighting Fish and the Hudson River Rats, the other SCVBL teams are the New Richmond Millers, Prescott Pirates, Spring Valley Hawks, Plum City Blues, Ellsworth Hubbers, Bay City Bombers, Elmwood Expos and Menomonie Eagles.
Eidem said the teams are working together to salvage some kind of season.
“If that means a tournament at the end of the year, or a 4-game season, we'll run something. But I can't stress enough that it has to be safe to do so.”
LeBreche said the Wisconsin Baseball Association playoffs remain scheduled for August at this time, with the semifinals scheduled for Aug. 7-9 at sites to be determined and the WBA Finals hosted Aug. 14-16 by the Independent League.
Eidem said whenever it’s safe to return to the field, his team will be ready.
“The second we get an ‘all clear,’ there will be baseball at Hoffman Park and the Fish will be ready to take the field,” he said.