Baseball: VFW Baseball won’t have a season
VFW Baseball announced this week the cancellation of its 2020 state tournament and season due to novel coronavirus, with plans to play again in 2021.
Brainerd has two VFW teams coached by Brainerd Warriors head baseball coach Trent Grams and Central Lakes College Raiders head baseball coach Brian Voigt.
Grams said he saw the cancellation coming.
“I appreciate how long they hung on to try and make it work,” Grams said. “I think American Legion canceled on May 9, so at least VFW tried to figure out how things could work. But in the end I think they did the right thing by canceling and just making sure the kids are safe.”
Sixth District VFW Activities Director Chuck Hanson said he did not hear from VFW Baseball directly and learned of the announcement when one of the coaches saw it on the website.
“We did not know about it,” Hanson said. “I’m kind of disappointed.”
Hanson mentioned Minnesota Youth Athletic Services is putting on a baseball season starting later in June, but most of the tournaments would be in the Twin Cities.
“When the governor came out and said we could start practicing June 1, we thought (VFW) would go forward,” Hanson said.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday, June 5, youth sports could return with some restrictions.
Grams said he still plans to have practice with his VFW team in small groups starting June 15, which is when the Minnesota State High School League allows.
July 1 is when the Brainerd School District is opening up facilities for sports, which will then allow them to practice on Adamson Field.
“We are going to try to do as much baseball as we can as long as we are doing it the right way,” Grams said.
VFW allows Grams to work and coach the ninth- and tenth-graders coming up. He added that with the cancellation of the 2020 spring season, Brainerd’s whole team will have no varsity experience entering the 2021 season.
“We will have no varsity innings taking the field next year,” Grams said. “We feel like we need to get as much live time as we can with the kids before then. We won’t be playing against varsity competition, obviously, but at least get them used to our system.”
Not knowing what’s coming next with the baseball the past few months have been exhausting for Grams. He thinks it’s been even more exhausting on his players.
“This is our job to try and prepare them for baseball,” Grams said. “But they are the ones who it’s probably more exhausting for because they are sitting there waiting for the green light.”
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.