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Little League World Series Canceled Due to Coronavirus

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River Ridge, Louisiana takes a victory lap around the field at Lamade Stadium after winning the Little League World Series Championship game against Curacao, 8-0, in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

By Dr. Fred J. Cromartie, Ed.D. |

The Coronavirus continues to impact sports globally, this time with the announcement that the Little League World Series has been canceled for 2020. Organizers cited issues caused by the pandemic as having a direct impact on the global youth baseball championship for pre-teen children world-wide.

Little League International, which offers 6,500 community-based programs in 84 nations, announced last Thursday the unprecedented decision to cancel all regional tournaments and the 16-team finals that were scheduled for August in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

“This is a heartbreaking decision,” Little League president Stephen D. Keener said. “After exhausting all possible options, we came to the conclusion that because of the significant public health uncertainty that will still exist several months from now… it will not be possible to proceed with our tournaments as we’ve hosted them for nearly 75 years.”

Issues that doomed the 2020 series for the LLWS event were the inability to play regional qualifying events in many areas, global travel restrictions and the testing and safety issues that would be necessary to stage the tournaments safely.  Additionally, testing and mitigation protocols that would need to be in place at these significant public events should a player, team or other individual participating or attending an LLWS event be diagnosed with COVID-19.

Little League board of directors chairman Hugh Tanner said “As our world comes together, we must do everything we can to help stem the spread of this deadly virus.”

Another cancelation will be the scheduled Major League Baseball contest that had been set for August 23 at the event between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. MLB has plans to stage a similar contest at the 2021 Little League World Series.

The cancellation includes the 82 regional qualifying tournaments and their respective seven World Series events: Little League Baseball – South Williamsport, Pa.

  • Little League Softball® – Greenville, N.C.
  • Intermediate (50/70) Baseball – Livermore, Calif.
  • Junior League Baseball – Taylor, Mich.
  • Junior League Softball – Kirkland, Wash.
  • Senior League Baseball – Easley, S.C.
  • Senior League Softball –Sussex County, Del.

Dr. Cromartie is the Director of Doctoral Studies at the United States Sports Academy.

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