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Regina Red Sox season cancelled amid COVID-19
REGINA -- The Regina Red Sox won’t be stepping up to the plate this season.
The Western Canadian Baseball League’s (WCBL) Board of Governors voted unanimously to cancel the 2020 season on Wednesday.
The first strike that led to the decision was the limited number of people allowed in social gatherings. The league originally proposed postponing the beginning of the season to July 1, but it’s likely gatherings will still be capped around 50 people.
“We could never play without crowds,” said Regina Red Sox General Manager Bernie Eiswirth. “Crowds are a big part of our thing, we don’t have a television contract so we need our crowds to be able to exist as a team.”
The second strike was the inability to get the American players, who make up the bulk of each roster, into Canada. Last season, the Red Sox had almost two dozen Americans on the squad.
“They extended the border closing for another month to June 20th and that was basically it, that was the last straw,” Eiswirth said.
He says the team can weather the financial storm until 2021.
“We put some money in the bank for a rainy day,” he said. “This is the rainy day.”
However Eiswirth, who is also a VP of the WCBL, is concerned about other clubs.
“Hopefully they’re going to make it through this winter and make it back stronger than ever next year,” he said.
In October, the Yorkton Cardinals and Melville Millionaires announced they were taking a year long leave of absence from the WCBL. The Cardinals wanted to get their finances in order. Governor Mike Stackhouse says the pandemic presents new challenges.
“[To] try and hold a fundraiser, or to raise money, you can’t have mass gatherings and you’re suppose to limit contact with people,” he said. “Economically I don’t think too many people have extra money right now.”
“Technically you can’t get a licence for anything if you’re not in operation so you can’t raise money for your team and that’s the one thing that I know they’d like to do,” added Eiswirth.
For the players, it’s a double whammy. They’ve also seen their college seasons cancelled. Eiswirth is hoping fans can keep the faith for the 2021 season, which will be the Red Sox’s 16th season in the league.