The June 30 restart date for the Freedom Farm Baseball League doesn’t appear to be feasible, as there is no green light given for sporting activities to resume in the country in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. League Commissioner Clarence “CJ” McKenzie said the league will continue to weigh its options
The only significant sporting activity to realistically resume in The Bahamas since the emergence of COVID-19 is professional athletes training. Local leagues such as the Freedom Farm Baseball League (FFBL) were looking to resume play by June 30, but that has now been pushed back as they await the green light from the government of The Bahamas on the advice of public health authorities.
According to the league’s commissioner, Clarence “CJ” McKenzie, the league thought about resuming on June 30 but that date is not looking feasible anymore.
“We would have dates that we would have liked to resume our season after the outbreak, which would have been June 30, but as that time is approaching it doesn’t seem as though we will start the season by then. It doesn’t mean that the season is canceled so we are pretty much under suspension; and we hope that within the next couple weeks, as we get further into the summer, we can make a final decision on the current season,” McKenzie said.
League members have been meeting every two weeks to discuss the current situation and plan for the future. There is a general concern for the health and safety of the players, coaches, fans, spectators, umpires, scorers, concession stand workers and everyone else affiliated with the league and regular play. McKenzie said there are some who are ready to go and others who are hesitant.
As for safety and health concerns, McKenzie said the league has the luxury of having a number of doctors and other medical professionals at hand.
“I think we have over a dozen doctors and over a dozen nurses as medical professionals who are affiliated with the league. We have a committee that is led by Dr. Valentine Grimes, who is our health and safety director for Freedom Farm. He is there to oversee the health protocols and measures for us to return, whenever that is. He is responsible for putting all the health and safety standards in place, recommending [what] the new norm for baseball will be and we are relying on him from that standpoint to help us to get back to baseball safely,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie said the players are always ready to play.
“The kids are motivated. They are excited. Their perception of risk is different. That’s why it calls for adults to be in a position to make the decision for them. If you leave it up to the kids, they will all be out to the park all together. We are moving cautiously. The kids are ready to get back to playing, from the young ones all the way up to the older ones,” he said. “Those kids who play on the senior field, ages 13 and up, baseball is important to them as they are seen by high school, colleges and university coaches. You also have persons in that age group who would have been seen by professional scouts so that opportunity to be seen has not been there the last few weeks. It is a lot more on the line for them than the younger ones. Some are ready to go and to travel but we have everything on hold, but their perception is different when to comes to the pandemic and how it is changing all of us.”
According to McKenzie, they will be weighing their options in a few weeks.
“We do have the option, if we so choose, to resume our season at any point later on in the fall, or if we feel it’s best because of the time frame to have a short tournament that is also being discussed as well as a shortened fall season. All of that is being discussed,” McKenzie said.
He assured that they will not rush to return as the health and safety of league members and everyone involved is paramount.