Little League International announced on Thursday that the Little League World Series will not be played due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is the first time since the organization began that the major event will not take place.
The Little League International also announced that all regional tournaments and championships at local levels have also been canceled. The Little League World Series is set to return in 2021.
Even though the Little League World Series was canceled, Little League International was quick to point out that the entire season has not been called off. There is hope that teams can still play games on the local level at some point this summer, but there will be no major tournament in Williamsport.
The first Little League League World Series was played in 1947, and it has been held every year since. The 75th anniversary of the first world series will now be pushed back to 2022 with the cancellation of this year’s tournament.
Restrictions on travel and gathering of large groups were the main reason that the Little League World Series was forced to be canceled. Every summer, fans flock to Williamsport, Pa., to watch the tournament, and teams come from all over the world.
There was hope that the Little League World Series would be held for teams from the United States, but the Little League International did not want to exclude international teams. Most international teams would likely not be able to get into the United States to participate in the final tournament.
Little League International announced in March that the league was officially shut down until May 11. That date still stands, and the organization urges teams and leagues to follow state and local health guidelines before resuming play.
The cancellation also causes plenty of financial restraints and questions for local organizations. Little League has announced that they are crediting chartered programs over $1.2 million in affiliation fees.
Along with this announcement, the 2020 MLB Little League Classic has also been canceled. The Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles were supposed to compete in a game on Aug. 23 in Williamsport, but that event will not be held this year.
Major League Baseball Reaches Deal With Umpires
Little League International was not the only baseball organization to make an announcement this week. Major League Baseball also announced that they had reached a deal with their umpires in regards to 2020 pay during the coronavirus pandemic.
The MLB Umpires Association has been working with MLB executives to come up with a plan to receive a fair share of their contracted salary for the 2020 season. Umpires will be paid a prorated share of their salaries based on the number of total days that they would work over a 182-day season.
Major League Baseball has continued to pay their umpires through April, but umpires will now begin to receive just 50 percent of their salary through May. MLB Umpires Association agreed to these changes, and have agreed to take a “pay cut” during the coronavirus pandemic.
Umpires in the Major Leagues make between $150,000 and $450,000 per year depending on service time and the number of games that they work. As a part of this agreement, umpires will earn at least 33 percent of their salaries if at least one regular-season game is played in 2020.
A major part of this agreement calls for Major League Baseball not to use instant replay on umpires’ decisions during the 2020 season. MLB has still yet to announce their official plans for the 2020 season, but there is a chance that games will be played in parks that don’t allow for instant replay.