The outlook for a season of hometown baseball is pretty slim this year. To get the lowdown, we spoke with David Dunn, director of the Magee Recreation Department, and Tiffany Wallace at Mendenhall’s City Hall.
David tells us that there will be no organized league in Magee this year. However, organizers are hoping to have the opportunity to get some skills work in this year, but it will not be in the form of a game.
What he does hope is that Governor Tate Reeves will expand his order on prohibiting groups of more than 20. If that happens the city might offer the opportunity for training in basics, which includes batting, pitching until the batter hits, as well as fielding the ball and other skills. David said coaches will be on hand to work with the players.
Magee is associated with the Cal Ripkin League, and their tournaments that are traditionally held at the end of June are being moved to mid-July. David said this may allow for some teams to be fielded again. It’s really up to the Governor. Dunn said if any teams make, they most likely will be those made from last year. He said the big difference from last year is that while any teams this year will still be playing under the Magee banner, they will not have the sponsorships that have been available in the past because there was no season. That means the team or teams would have to pay entrance fees and other fees associated with tournaments and buy uniforms.
Dunn said anyone wanting a refund for the season should contact city hall, or their fees can be banked until next year.
Regarding use of the fields for practice, the facility is open daily from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. David said that currently the city is practicing social distancing and limiting group size to not more than 20. He also said that if spectators attend practice they should not sit in stands but rather bring a chair to sit along fence. But he added that the Governor’s rules still apply.
Dunn said because the summer sports programs did not make this year the department is faced with loss of that revenue. He said they had already paid insurance and franchise fees for the year, which totals about $7,500 but nothing can be done about that. He said the city was fortunate not to have ordered uniforms, which would have cost another $18,000.
In addition to losing the admission fees, they are also missing concession revenue for the year, and local businesses are missing out on selling prepared food and gasoline.
He said that the City of Brandon is going to attempt to have a season, but he just doesn’t see it to be feasible in Magee.
He said if you are registered with Magee or would like to get updates as to their programs, text MageeYouthSports to 95577 to get updates on everything going on with Magee sports.
The next program that will come into play is fall soccer. It, too, will be based on what the Governor says in relation to social distancing and possible other restrictions due to COVID-19.
Mendenhall’s program has yet to be canceled. They are awaiting a decision from Little Dixie, which is their sports affiliation. Supposedly, that decision was to be in by mid-May.