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August will not be the same without 2020 World Series

August will produce a silence that will echo around the world.

There will be no youngsters arriving on airplanes from distant lands.

There will be no dreams to chase on baseball diamonds in a few short months.

Nobody will become champion of a 2020 Little League World Series.

The excitement to which we have grown accustomed in this region will be replaced by the quiet of our new distancing practices.

And we understand and support Little League Baseball in their decision to put health and safety above all else. That’s as it should be. Let’s face it. We have taken great pains to flatten the curve and must enter into our new normal with extreme caution.

Still, we are saddened for the young players who may not get another chance at this world title.

We are saddened for the loss of joy our cherished local event traditionally brings us as well as people from around the world, many of them first-time visitors to our area.

And we are saddened for the local business community which will take another hit as they struggle to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

For local businesses, particularly those in the tourism industry, the annual Series in late August can make or break. The economic impact from visitors to the nearly two-week event is close to $40 million annually, according to Jason Fink, president of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.

That’s $40 million in lost nights of lodging, in meals that will never be served, in souvenirs and other retail goods that will not be bought locally, at least not this year.

That’s also $40 million that provides paychecks for legions of local people.

Interestingly, it’s also the total amount of 33,333 federal stimulus checks combined. These stimulus checks are intended to provide economic relief during this pandemic, so let’s use them where the help is needed most. Even just a bit. It could help.

Imagine the sounds of cash registers ringing that stimulus money could produce. Just imagine the beautiful noise we can make together!

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