The Princeton 2020 VFW baseball team began to loosen up their arms in preparation for the summer season when the team started practicing June 15. The thought was that with the recent announcement made the Minnesota Department of Health allowing for youth outdoor sports to resume competition June 24, the Tigers could be playing games against others as soon as June 29. This will not be the case.
The date that was thought to allow for the team to resume its competitive play will once again be pushed back, now putting the season in jeopardy for Princeton.
July 22 is now the target date to allow for the Tigers to travel and begin outside scrimmages or games.
VFW coach Jordan Neubauer was disappointed by the news. “Originally, we were set to start the first week in June, but obviously that didn’t happen. Then they came out with the new guidelines that allowed for games potentially on Wednesday [June 24] which seemed like good news,” Neubauer said. “Then Ray Fay, [with Princeton Community Education and Princeton’s head football coach], sent out additional guidelines released by the state,” Neubauer added.
The additional guidelines explained that the Tigers could now scrimmage during practice, not compete against other teams, and in another two weeks could scrimmage another team in the community then after another two weeks, Princeton could begin to play teams outside of the community.
Looking forward, Neubauer is unsure if the VFW team will be able to have a season this year. “I don’t know when we are going to be playing games, to be honest, this is kind of a gut punch,” Neubauer said.
The VFW team has been having socially distance practices for the past two weeks as much as they could while preparing for a possible season Neubauer said. The team consists of 18 ninth and 10th graders.
With the thought of possibly playing games as early as next week now gone, Neubauer now must find a way to keep the players ready for a season, if there is one.
“I was using that as a bit of a carrot, like ‘Hey guys, keep working hard because we could be playing games as soon as next week, and we need to be ready for this’ and now if I come to practice tomorrow and let them know it could be the 22 of July and there may not even be a season, it’s tough,” explained Neubauer. “A kid can only practice for so long before they have to have some competition against someone different.”
Neubauer and the Princeton VFW team will now continue to practice and wait, in hopes of a possible season. “I understand the intent, it’s all to keep people healthy, but it is not easy for us to manage,” he said.