Health Complaint Suspends Tri-Town Youth Baseball Games
Old Rochester Youth Baseball announced this week "with great displeasure" that it must suspend its games for now. The decision was made after a complaint was lodged with the Rochester Board of Health, Old Rochester Youth Baseball President Peter Viera told parents in an email.
The apparent problem is that only youth sports practices -- but not games -- are allowed under Governor Charlie Baker's Phase 2 reopening of the Massachusetts economy, Viera told WBSM.
"It's a sensitive subject, and I'm not pointing the finger at anyone," said Viera. "Except maybe Governor Baker. Can someone please explain to me why games are not allowed, but practices are? It's absurd."
Viera said he does not know who filed complaints, but he just wants to help solve the problem in a responsible and respectful way. "Some parents are pretty upset, and I don't want to make things worse," he said. "My phone has been ringing non-stop."
Viera said that in June he launched a schedule of games after the Rochester Health Department informed him via email that it had no indication either way about whether the activity would be allowed or disallowed under Phase 2 state guidelines. After several games were played, two complaints made their way to the Board of Health, and a shutdown order was issued. Viera added that he, too, had reached out to the board seeking guidance.
"Our season is definitely not canceled," Viera said. "We'll reschedule the four games that were missed. Hopefully, if Phase 3 begins on Monday, we'll get the green light from the town."
Viera said while precautions have been in place to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, that quite a few parents and spectators showed up at the recent games, and not everyone was wearing a mask. "I'm the president of the league, and I'm also the coach," he said. "There's a lot going on. I can't be going up to everybody telling them what to do."
WBSM on Thursday morning reached out to Rochester Health Director Karen Walega seeking information and comment but has not yet heard back.
The Old Rochester Youth Baseball league serves children and teens in the towns of Marion, Mattapoisett, and Rochester. Games are played at multiple fields including Giffords Park and the Dexter Lane ballfield in Rochester.