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West End to suspend activities until further notice

West End Babe Ruth baseball is suspending all of its baseball activities until further notice and padlocked its fields due to the COVID-19 pandemic that’s ongoing.

The decision came shortly after Governor Tom Wolf decided to extend school closures “indefinitely” on Monday after previously having them closed until at least April 6.

The April 6 deadline was also one West End was following, as it announced on its Facebook page on March 23 that it would continue to follow Governor Wolf’s orders.

At this point, it’s a day-by-day and week-by-week approach for the league and president Jim Winder.

“It’s definitely hard to figure out what we’re going to do and if we’re ever going to get started. We hope to,” Winder said.

He noted that he hopes the league will get started by the middle or end of May. Babe Ruth baseball typically starts around April 20 each year.

“We can go a little later this year, so my estimate is we may go with a 14-game schedule if we start in middle of May, maybe a little more,” Winder said.

The coronavirus pandemic is uncharted waters for leagues figuring out if a season can take place. Winder has been involved with West End Babe Ruth since 1982 and, other than a handful of monsoons shortening a season over the past few decades, nothing like this has ever happened where an entire season could be canceled.

“It’s a real concern that it’s not going to happen,” Winder said. “Watching the news right now, they’re not painting a pretty picture.”

Winder said he’s in constant talk with coaches of the league, who ask him when they are going to start. For Winder, he’s following Governor Wolf’s recommendations at this point.

“(I tell them) keep watching guidelines, we’ll let you know,” Winder said. “We’ll start quickly (when we do resume), cut down our practice time. Maybe only practice a week and get right into games.”

Winder noted that the decision to padlock the fields came after Old Lycoming Township took its basketball hoops down and locked up its tennis courts.

“I’m just following their guidelines,” Winder said.

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