One day after the National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum cancelled its 2020 induction weekend this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Little League International announced on Thursday afternoon that its World Series and regional tournaments later this year have also been cancelled for the same reason.
Per an official release, Little League president and CEO Stephen D. Keener said, “This is a heartbreaking decision for everyone at Little League International, but more so for those millions of Little Leaguers who have dreamt of one day playing in one of our seven World Series events. After exhausting all possible options, we came to the conclusion that because of the significant public health uncertainty that will still exist several months from now, and with direction from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, as well as senior public health officials and government leaders from locations where our other six World Series are held, as well as the their qualifying regional tournaments, it will not be possible to proceed with our tournaments as we’ve hosted them for nearly 75 years.”
In total, seven Little League World Series events and 82 corresponding regional qualifying tournaments have all been cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has effectively shut down American sports since March.
The Red Sox this season were supposed to take on the Baltimore Orioles in the fourth-annual MLB Little League Classic at BB&T Ballpark in Williamsport, Pa. on August 23rd. That event, which allows players on both sides to spend time and make memories for hundreds of little-leaguers, has also been cancelled as part of Thursday’s announcement from Little League International, although MLB has already committed to returning to Williamsport in 2021.
Since its inception in 1947, the Little League World Series has never before had to be cancelled until now.
“Delivering this news comes with a very heavy heart. We have never had to cancel our World Series tournaments, but, right now, as our world comes together, we must do everything we can to help stem the spread of this deadly virus,” said Little League board of directors chairman Hugh E. Tanner. “While we take this pause from the World Series and Regional Tournaments this summer, we are committed to working with our volunteers and staff to continue to provide an unparalleled youth sports experience to all children and be back stronger than ever in 2021.”