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Cape Cod Baseball League cancels 2020 season due to coronavirus pandemic

The Cape Cod Baseball League will not be playing this summer.
The Cape Cod Baseball League will not be playing this summer.Globe Staff Photo by Stan Grossf

The Cape Cod Baseball League announced Friday afternoon it will cancel the 2020 season.

Citing “health concerns and safety needs of all involved,” an official statement from the league said it would be “impossible to guarantee the safety of players, coaches, umpires, host families, volunteers and fans during this unprecedented health crisis.”

“This is my 34th year with the league, and my fifth as president, and this was the hardest decision we’ve ever had to make,” said CCBL President Chuck Sturtevant. “But it was the right decision, when you consider the advice we’ve gotten from all the medical personnel involved in the league. All I can hope for is that this will make us stronger for next year, and we can have a hell of a 2021.”

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League commissioner Eric Zmuda said the league looked at a variety of contingency plans, including the possibility of an abbreviated season, but in the end, this was the only alternative. The season was scheduled to start June 13.

“The health and safety of all involved is why the decision was made now to cancel the season, as it’s impossible to guarantee that everyone would be able to stay safe during this crisis,” he said.

“We went through several stages to see if we could salvage some sort of season, but in the end, this was the only option.”

The oldest summer college baseball league in America, the Cape Cod Baseball League has been a showcase of amateur baseball for generations. The 10-team circuit stretches the length of Cape Cod, from Orleans to Wareham, and has produced some of the brightest talent in the game, including Chris Sale and Aaron Judge.

It’s tough to measure the financial impact of a lost season for the CCBL, but it will undoubtedly be a tough blow for the Cape economy. In 2010, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce estimated the league boosts the local economy by more than $2.6 million every summer.

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But that doesn’t take into account the emotional impact: While on the Cape, those players stay with host families, often cementing a unique bond between players and fans. To that point, Zmuda — whose family first got involved with the Cape League in 2010 when they volunteered to serve as a host family — said it was a challenge to arrive at the decision to cancel the season.

“It was an emotional decision for everyone involved,” said Zmuda. “It’s hard knowing there won’t be baseball on the Cape this year, but we’re all looking forward to 2021 and getting back into a normal groove next year.”


Christopher Price can be reached at christopher.price@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at cpriceglobe.