BRISTOL – The Bristol Blues were preparing for what was to be their first season as a part of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, but that introduction will have to wait another year.
The NECBL announced on Friday night that it was canceling the 2020 season due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“This decision was reached after a careful and thoughtful review of the guidance from federal, state and local officials, the leadership of our host communities, and recommendations from the CDC and medical community,” Friday night’s statement read. “The conclusion was that canceling the 2020 season was necessary for the health, safety and well-being of our players, coaches, umpires, volunteers, fans and host families.”
NECBL commissioner Sean McGrath was hopeful about the 2020 season earlier in April, but acknowledged how quickly the outlook could change if the COVID-19 outbreak continued to affect the start or resumption of other sporting events, and with other well-known events like the Little League World Series being canceled in recent days, the NECBL became the next to go.
“We understand that this decision will result in hardship and disappointment to our student-athletes who have already lost their college spring baseball season,” Friday night’s press release read. “For this reason, it breaks our hearts and runs counter to our competitive instincts and spirit. However, our first priority and obligation must always be the health and well-being of our players and our community. We promise to use this time out, and all of our resources, to make our 2021 season something truly special for our players, coaches and fans.”
The NECBL also announced that its 2021 Opening Day in all venues will be dedicated to first responders and community organizations on the front lines battling the coronavirus pandemic.
Opening Day for the Blues this year was supposed to be on June 3. They left the Futures League for the NECL last November.