The 2020 Minnesota American Legion season has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. The League announced the cancelation of its season on May 9, via a press release.
Randy Schaub, the director of Minnesota American Legion Baseball Committee, stated in the release, “Safety has always been important in American Legion Baseball, as much as we wanted to play this year, we cannot take chances with the players, coaches and fans we oversee.”
The Legion season was originally postponed on April 11, with hopes of a season happening until the decision was reached.
Playing a major factor in the choice was the America Legion National Organization canceling its season, meaning no official season would occur; If teams wanted to host their own season, it would be not be endorsed by the league. Without the endorsement, uniforms would have to be altered as well as insurance not being provided be the League. Luther Dorr, former Union-Times editor and the Minnesota Legion’s District 10 director, said that once the National League pulled their endorsement, the season would not happen. “I know that everybody wanted to have the season go, but once the National League said we weren’t going to have baseball, that did it for us,” Dorr said, referring to the decision process made by the Minnesota Committee.
The decision ends the season for the 357 teams that had signed up for the Minnesota Legion season. Among those teams, was Princeton.
Troy Kinney, who was set to return to coach the Princeton’s Legion team as a co-head coach with Jesse Zimmer, was sad to hear the news about the cancelation. “We are disappointed, it was expected but it was disappointing,” said Kinney, who was going to enter in to his 29th season as a coach for the Tigers’ legion team, taking over for Jordan Neubauer.
The Minnesota American Legion Baseball Committee had sent out a survey to coaches in the league, and had positive results, but the season still felt like a long shot according to Kinney. “A survey was sent out to the coaches, and that had a good response, but deep down, I felt like it was going to happen this way,” explained Kinney.
Although, a tough decision had to be made, Kinney feels as though the right one was made regarding the season. “I think they almost had to do it,” said Kinney referring to the cancelation. “I feel terrible for the kids, especially the seniors but it was probably the right decision.”
Also being affected by the decision to cancel the season is the Princeton Legion Tournament as it would have entered in to its 51st season being held. The Princeton Tournament is one of the longest running tournaments in the nation.
Minnesota canceling its Legion season snaps a streak of almost 100 years of having a Legion State Tournament, as this will be the first year without one since 1926.
Twenty-five states had already canceled their seasons at the time of Minnesota’s decision to cancel.
While the Legion baseball season is canceled, a decision has yet to be about the VFW season, as that league operates under a different organization.