From the WCBA President Allan Ebert:
To: All WCBA Members
Re: Expectations with respect to the OBA Return to Sport Protocols
I hope this update finds everyone healthy and safe in this time of uncertainty.
As baseball slowly begins to return to the ball diamonds in Western Counties, I wanted to share some learnings and expectations with everyone as they plan their practices and games. I understand that application of the provincial and municipal requirement is a moving target and are sometimes difficult to understand. We are also learning about Baseball Ontario’s expectations regarding the implementation of their Return to Sport COVID-19 Protocol.
First of all, your best tool for completing the necessary waivers and attendance tracking is the OnDeck app supplied by Baseball Ontario through the iTunes or Google Play stores as well as the web interface. How you handle these requirements is up to you, hardcopy or OnDeck, but you must ensure that they are in use (the OBA will ask for verification of these if an issue arises).
Before you practice, please read the OBA Guideline Practice section carefully so you know the expectations. Before you play a game, please read the Competition section of the Protocol. The game is not business as normal and we are required to follow the requirements. We must not have opening ceremonies, we can only have one coach on the mound with the pitcher, always socially distanced. We need players to remain socially distanced from the umpires, we need players to refrain from fist pumps, high fives, seed spitting etc. We need our players to remain socially distanced as much as possible – they can’t all sit together in the dugout, and we must manage the baseballs according to the protocol. All of these details are in the guideline and these are only a small sampling of the ones that experience seems to show are most easily forgotten. We need to view the game from a different paradigm – it is not business as usual.
A new learning to share with all of you is the interpretation of the Enforcement section at the end of the protocol. This section describes the shared responsibilities of all members. The protocol is designed to work co-operatively between all participants, to help protect the safety of all. It is everyone’s responsibility to implement the protocol individually and collectively. If the home team notices the away team violating the protocol it is their responsibility to bring it to the attention of the other team, and vice versa. The idea is collective co-operation to successfully play the game and help each other stay safe in the process.
Baseball Ontario is very clear with respect to their expectations for implementation, and I want to be equally clear that WCBA has the same expectations regarding implementation of the protocol. If we receive a concern, or are notified of an alleged violation of the protocol we will address it quickly with a zero tolerance type of approach. The WCBA has adopted the following policy, starting immediately and will continue to do so as long as Baseball Ontario’s COVID-19 Protocol is in place.
“WCBA takes the Baseball Ontario COVID-19 Return to Play Protocol seriously and as such there will be a zero tolerance policy for violations of the protocol. Any reports of violations of the protocol will be dealt with in the following manner;
- The offending team will be suspended from on field activities pending an investigation by WCBA.
- Upon completion of the investigation, if the allegations are found to be accurate, any of the following penalties may be issued depending on the specific situation;
- the team may remain suspended from on-field activities for the remainder of 2020
- members of the coaching staff may be suspended
- individual players may be suspended
- duration of any suspensions issued will be determined at the time of suspension depending on the severity of the infraction
- Penalties associated with the above may be appealed through the standard appeal process.
- This applies to all WCBA teams regardless of their current operation as a direct entry team, or as a local association team.”
Remember that the point of all of this, is to be able to provide the safest possible environment for all participants as we return to sport. If you have any questions, feel free to contact myself, or any member of the executive for clarification.
Thanks for your support, and stay safe…