Dreaming of Little League
Bruce Burton, 9, practices baseball with his brother and dad twice a week, often using a net and tee in his backyard to work on hitting.
“I like doing everything like catching, throwing, hitting,” Bruce said. Baseball is his favorite sport, and he said he looks forward to the Little League season, but he is hesitant. “I don’t want coronavirus,” he said.
His mother Renatae Burton, information officer for Dover Little League, said the season will not start until after May 15, based on guidance from Little League International and the governor’s stay-at-home orders. There is no start date for now.
“We’re still going to have a season. It’s just going to be delayed,” she said. “As of right now, we can’t do anything before then.”
While people can’t sign up in person, online registration is still open. Out of more than 100 registered players, Burton said only a couple have withdrawn and a handful of new players have registered.
“The support from our Little League parents and the Little League players is phenomenal,” she said. Many of the sponsors reassured her that they won’t be rescinding their donation, even when they may be facing hardship.
Brian Turner, vice president of Dover Little League, said he understands that many families may be focusing on more pressing things than baseball right now. He hopes to host more in-person registrations before the season starts.
“We’re hopeful that when we do restart things that we can bring kids in that haven’t signed up yet, as well,” he said. “We’re still open to registering new players that haven’t played baseball in the past and former players that have played with Dover Little League.”
He said opening day could be as late as June, but they still expect to have a good season, even if it means condensing tournaments or changing game schedules to finish before the new school year.
“It may be a local season, one that just involves our local league and our local teams playing against one another,” he said.
In the meantime, he encouraged players to keep practicing at home. “Having a catch or playing wall ball, those are all things you can do outside and do at a safe social distance,” he said.
Burton said she has been posting practice tips on social media and sharing uplifting videos from Little League International where professional athletes give pep talks.
On its website, Little League offers articles and videos on “backyard tips” to help families stay active and practice while they wait. They cover everything from bunting to how to grip a bat or throw a ball.
For now, though, Little Leaguers wait and dream of a spring with baseball.
Register for Dover Little League