As it turns out, there might be some summer baseball after all.
The Connecticut American Legion teams have formed a new league to try and salvage what is left of the 2020 season. Using the name “CT Elite Baseball Association, LLC,” the newly created league will provide a place for legion teams to play games both this summer (July 1 to Aug. 9 and again in the fall (mid-August to mid-October) League Director Craig Zimmerman wrote in a release Monday night.
“Twelve people with well over 300 combined years of American Legion Baseball coaching and administrative experience have volunteered their time to form a new league to play baseball for the rest of 2020, before we all return to American Legion Baseball for the 2021 season,” Monday night’s statement read.
The new committee will consist of Zimmerman (South Windsor), Tim Vincent (assistant director/Division-1 chairman, Simsbury), Jeff Clarke (treasurer/Division-4 chairman, Prospect), Joe Mattei (Division-2 chairman), George Demaio (Division-2 assistant), Len Lampugnale (Division-3 assistant chairman, Tri County), Joe Eltman (Division-5 chairman, Wolcott/Waterbury), John Krot (Division-6 chairman, Danielson), Bill Tatelman (umpire representative), John Christofer (general manager, Wallingford), Charlie Flanagan (general manager, North Haven) and Paul LaFluer (general manager, Bristol).
Legion baseball in Connecticut officially suspended play on May 11, about a month before the season was supposed to begin, after the National American Legion had shut down all baseball sponsorship for the 2020 season, as did the Department of Connecticut, leaving teams without the necessary liability insurance for the summer. The Americanism Commission, which operates American Legion’s eight regional tournaments and the American Legion World Series in Shelby, North Carolina, had already canceled national postseason play on April 8.
But with Gov. Ned Lamont announcing this past week that certain youth sports, including baseball, would be allowed to start playing on June 20th as part of his plan to reopen the state, the Legion Baseball teams were terminated to play some semblance of a season.
“Obviously, our first priority will be to follow any new safety related rules mandated by the governor's office,” Zimmerman’s statement read. “Like all American Legion seasons, our teams will be required to provide general liability and secondary medical coverage to all of their teams. We have selected an agency from which all teams must purchase their insurance. We will provide a simple process for all teams to follow.”
CT Elite Baseball Association, LLC is expecting to have teams located throughout the state in four age levels: 19U, 17U, 15U and 14U. Each age bracket will generally follow all the key American Legion rules for continuity purposes with the hopes for a full summer of Legion baseball in 2021. That includes the types of bats players will be allowed to use. Wood or BBCOR aluminum bats will be used in the three older divisions with BBCOR bats allowed for the 14U age group.
“With only four weeks to go before our teams will be able to start practicing, we have a fairly tight timeline to get everything organized,” Zimmerman wrote. “We are currently surveying our Legion programs to see who is interested in participating. There will be a formal registration deadline of June 6.”
For more information about CT Elite Baseball Association, LLC, email email@example.com.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org