A Message from the President
In Response to the Waterloo Region Record Article
In response to the article published in the Waterloo Region Record, Kitchener Minor Baseball Association (KMBA) would like to clarify our position on the 2020 baseball season. Although KMBA was interviewed for this piece, our statements were not included. As the region’s largest baseball association, this is disappointing, and I am writing this statement to ensure that our position is clear.
At KMBA, the safety of our players, coaches, and families is paramount and is a key driver of our decision-making, not just during this pandemic, but always. We regularly review and ensure we follow the health and safety recommendations provided by Public Health officials. This has not and will not change as we navigate the COVID-19 situation.
We are in close, regular contact with our fantastic partners at the City of Kitchener. They have been clear that there is no concern pertaining to the safety or conditions of our diamonds if and when they will be opened for use. We also continue to work closely with them on improvements at our facilities. For example, the construction of our new batting cage facility at Breithaupt Park this year, and the installation of lights at Breithaupt Park last year which has given us the ability to play later into the evenings all summer as well as later into the fall season when daylight is at a premium.
In the article, there was a statement that a decision is required by June 1st in order to move ahead with a season. KMBA holds the opinion that we will offer baseball to our community whenever that becomes possible. We are preparing for all possibilities, including any start date up to and including dates in September. We are no strangers to fall baseball. Our Panthers Fall Ball program unites players from associations around Waterloo Region and beyond with play in September and October. A modified Fall Ball program (without travel outside of Canada) is only one of the options we are considering in order to be able to offer baseball in 2020.
All our conversations with Baseball Ontario and the local Intercounty Baseball Association have been focused on delivering some sort of season in 2020. Many municipalities are dealing with the same issues and it is clear that most are fully on board with plans to make the most out of what we are given in 2020.
Of course, we are realistic and are also preparing for a full cancellation if that becomes the requirement, however we are hopeful that this will not be the case. We do recognize that an amended season may require adjustments to our teams and we do intend to address the financial ramifications of a season that looks different than originally planned. Our guiding principles are that we will provide baseball to our players if and when it becomes safe to do so, and that we will treat our families and community fairly. Thanks in part to fundraising, grants, and subsidies, we are in a healthy financial position and are confident we will be able to balance any program we may deliver in 2020 with the fees required to do so. If we are told or determine that we are not able to deliver any baseball program in 2020, we will ensure an equitable pro-rated credit or refund will be issued to our members.
Another statement in the article indicated that everybody will lose players for 2021. This is not a statement that KMBA supports or believes. We understand that families are facing challenges this year and that there are many unknowns. What is known is that our players and families love baseball and Kitchener has built an outstanding program that draws players to participate in large numbers. We will increase our efforts heading into 2021 to market our great sport to the community and we intend to come back from whatever 2020 brings to us stronger and better than ever. If the Coronavirus situation shows us anything, it shows us that people want to be outside with others participating in activities; we will deliver a baseball program that will be there to welcome them.
Kitchener Minor Baseball remains committed as always to the health and safety of our players, coaches, and families. We also remain committed to delivering a baseball program that provides much more than just something for the kids to do. We continue to nurture our athletes to make them better members of our community, as well as better ball players. This current situation is no doubt a curve ball, but our training as an organization and our commitment to our community makes us ready to handle curve balls. We will be here in 2020, 2021, and every year beyond that to deliver strong baseball programs to serve our community.
Thank you and stay safe!
President, Kitchener Minor Baseball Association