Glad to be back after a week or so of staycation.
I was supposed to be out of town last week attending my nephew’s graduation, but like everything else in the world today, I wound up staying home for most of the time.
There has been some movement in the world of sports while I was not away — both the Newton American Legion baseball teams and the Newton Rebels summer college team are gearing up for the summer season.
If all goes to plan, and barring any extensions or changes to state and local recovery plans — the Legion teams will be able to begin play in early June, while the Rebels are shooting for mid-June.
The Legion state and zone tournaments have been canceled for the year, but many of the teams playing are planning postseason tournaments to end the season.
Major League Baseball has a tentative plan set to restart the season July 4 following two weeks of training camp (no exhibition games) at home stadiums. The plan still needs the approval of the players union.
MLB’s return will impact the first-year Wichita Wind Surge, which was supposed to begin its first season of play in the Pacific Coast League as the Miami Marlins’ Class AAA affiliate.
If state and municipal governmental units in several states can allow play, I imagine Minor League Baseball can proceed in a similar manner to what the Majors plan to do — divisional (or at least regional) play in a shortened season. This would mean games with the Oklahoma City Dodgers, Round Rock Express (an old Texas League rival of the Wichita Pilots/Wranglers) and San Antonio Missions (another old Wranglers rival). I imagine games with the Omaha Storm Chasers and Iowa Cubs would be feasible because of relative geography, along with their division mates the Memphis Redbirds and Nashville Sounds. Omaha, Iowa and Oklahoma City were all rivals of the Wichita Aeros in the old American Association.
While the plan in the Majors is to expand the roster to 50, I doubt most teams would carry 50 players except in the early and late weeks of the season. Minor league games would keep those at the bottom of the roster playing.
We’re still awaiting word of the fate of the National Baseball Congress World Series. While the Sunflower Collegiate League — of which the Rebels are a member — plans to play, the Kansas Collegiate League has canceled the season.
Other NBC Leagues still on (subject to change) include the California Collegiate League (with one team canceling), the Houston Collegiate Summer League, the Mile High League and the Pacific International League.
Leagues that have canceled include the Ohio Valley League.
The Alaska League hasn’t made a final determination (although the Alaska Goldpanners decided to sit out the year), nor has the Western Baseball Association.
No word from the Centex League, Rocky Mountain League or the SoCal League (although the San Diego Force are out for the year).
All of this could effect the format for the NBC World Series, as well as the number of teams invited.
Economic factors could determine if some teams decide to travel or not (quite common for far-flung leagues such as the Alaska League or the Ohio Valley League).
(Note: This week’s Shakespeare challenge, the Tempest, Act IV, Scene I, can be accessed on the web version of this column).
Mark Schnabel is the sports editor of the Kansan and also is helping out on the news side. He can be reached at email@example.com.