Playing ball with a few restrictions
BY MARK SCHAFER
SPECIAL TO THE JEFFERSON HERALD
It’ll be a different type of summer sports that debuts on June 15.
Besides the obvious, such as the starting date for the summer sports, and the length of the schedule, there will be other changes that may or may not be as noticeable throughout the year.
Last week, the IHSAA and IGHSAU released a few guidelines, as well as a frequently asked questions sheet for teams, spectators and administrators to follow.
One of the most noticeable changes will be to the state softball tournament, which has been moved back a week to allow more time for the regular season.
This year’s state softball tournament will run from July 27-31 at the Harlan Rogers Softball complex in Fort Dodge. Originally, the season was scheduled to end at the state tournament running July 20-24.
Baseball’s state tournament is still scheduled for July 24-August 1.
Because of the shortened season in both baseball and softball, many of the schools have limited their schedule to include teams only within their own conference. The IHSAA and IGHSAU has allowed individual schools to determine their schedule as long as they don’t schedule a game before June 15. There may be some situations where a team can not or may not want to play because of a player or coach testing positive for COVID-19. In such situations, a game may be cancelled, without consequence, if the Department of Public Health advises the game is not to be played. However, if a school chooses not to play a game on their own, that game will be considered a forfeit.
If a player tests positive for COVID-19, according to the FAQ sheet, then the school district must act fast.
“The local school district will need to contact the county’s department of public health, which will provide guidelines regarding the next steps,” the FAQ sheet explained about what would happen if a student has a positive test for the virus.
With new testing methods, some counties might become hot spots and a school’s season may end prematurely.
“The local school district can make the determination to cancel their season at any time. If concerns are raised regarding the number of COVID-19 cases, the respective county or state department of health can cancel the school’s season or the entire baseball/softball season,” the information provided from the IHSAA and IGHSAU advises.
One of the biggest indicators of having COVID-19 has been a high temperature. Because of that, the Department of Education and Department of Public Health is advising that all players and coaches have their temperature taken before games and practices. The information sheet advises that if a student-athelte or coach has a temperature of 100.3 degrees or above then they should not attend that practice or game.
The Dept. of Education and Dept. of Public Health is not advising that spectators have their temperatures taken before watching games.
The IHSAA and IHSGAU advised that players can wear cloth face masks during games, but it is not required. The information sheet further specifies that plastic face masks are prohibited. It is recommended that coaches sanitize equipment for players before and after the game, but they do not need to sanitize the equipment after each inning or each half tinning.
One thing that will change this summer is the absence of food available to fans during the game.
While the norm for decades has been to have a burger or hot dog as they take in a seven inning contest, this year the Dept. of Education and Dept. of Public Health have locked down concessions stands.
After the game is over things will seem a little different this year. Instead of both teams lining up to shake each others’ hands at the conclusion of the game there will be no hanshakes exchanged at the end of each contest.
The information sheet advises that, “teams can acknowledge their opponent with a tip of a hat or other appropriate non-contact measures.”
Time in-between games will be handled a little differently this summer. Weight room use is prohibited under the current guidelines.
Greene County baseball and softball will open the 2020 season Monday, June 15 in Des Moines against Saydel.