Cape Cod League Cancels 2020 Season

Image credit: (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Cape Cod League, the premier college summer league, on Friday announced it had canceled its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was made through a unanimous vote of the league’s executive committee.

“Following CDC guidelines and medical recommendations, the league determined it would be impossible to guarantee the safety of players, coaches, umpires, host families, volunteers and fans during this unprecedented health crisis,” the statement said.

The Cape was slated to begin its season June 13, the latest Opening Day for any major college summer league. But the countdown to the return of baseball on the Cape now must be extended by a year.

The Cape Cod League traces its roots to 1885 but had stops and starts in its early years. But since 1946 the Cape has played continuously – until this year.

Summer leagues like the Cape always faced a difficult task of playing this year but had been proceeding with cautious optimism in the wake of the NCAA’s decision on March 12 to cancel the College World Series. But Massachusetts remains under a shelter-in-place order that shows no signs of soon ending and large gatherings remain prohibited. Even once those measures are removed, there were many obstacles to overcome, from finding enough host families to house the players for the summer to bringing players from all over the country to the Cape.

Ultimately, it was too much for the Cape – an all-volunteer organization – to overcome. It is an especially unfortunate decision given that the level of play on the Cape was expected to be elevated this summer. After the spring season was cut short, players were expected to be even more eager than normal to spend the summer playing baseball and more pitchers would have been available, having not hit their innings limits this spring.

The Cape is one of the best scouting and player development contexts in college baseball and the decision to cancel will hurt the players the most. They will miss out on two months of developmental time playing with wood bats against premium competition. It is also one of the most scouted environments that college baseball has to offer, and players will miss out on an opportunity to elevate themselves in scouts’ eyes.

The league will return next year and retain its charm and important place in the amateur baseball calendar. But, for this summer, college baseball will miss the lobster rolls, scenic views and celebrated atmosphere of the Cape Cod League.

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