Coalition of youth baseball, softball leagues hope new proposal will let kids play ball

A coalition of youth baseball and softball leagues have come together to ask Gov. Tim Walz to let them play ball this summer.

The group points out that a sport like baseball already has very little contact, lending itself well to social distancing.

Their proposal includes moving the umpire from behind the catcher to at least six feet behind the pitching mound. It would also include disinfecting equipment at the end of every inning and possibly everyone wearing masks.

“Our sports are naturally socially distanced,” said Dan Pfeffer, of Minnesota Softball. “You could fit 13 fast food chains inside our infields.”

The organizations worked with a sports medicine physician from M Health Fairview to develop the proposed changes.

 Jessica Berreth, of Farmington, is a self-described baseball mom that has two of her boys currently missing their seasons.

“It would be so fun to give them something encouraging, something to look forward to for the summer,” she said.

Berreth said she is OK watching the games from a distance if it means her sons can play.

“It won’t be the exact same game of baseball that we’re used to, but I think we can do things that can get the boys and girls out to the diamond, playing the sport they love, get them active and the same time being safe,” Berreth said.

Dawson Blanck, of Minnesota Youth Athletic Services, said the group will keep working to get kids on the field.

“We are doing all that we can to make sure that this is a safe option,” Blanck said.