Bessey Motors second baseman Rodney Bean tosses the ball to shortstop Janek Luksza (24) for a force out during last summer’s Senior American Legion state tournament at John Winkin Field at Husson University in Bangor. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

American Legion Zone 2 Assistant Commissioner Rod Stevens waited patiently for a conference call Monday night to discuss options after Senior and Junior Legion baseball were cancelled nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It actually didn’t happen,” Stevens said. “I had a conference call scheduled scheduled for 6 p.m., but it never came together. The meeting would have clarified what the national (organization) had done.”

Stevens said the Legion’s national directive made it clear that teams still wanting to field a team would need to so independently, without any American Legion baseball affiliation.

“From that, it was concluded there would be no Legion baseball,” Stevens said. “I agree with you that there would be no Legion baseball, but there still could have been baseball, if you know what I mean.”

Stevens said the organization was not “getting a lot of help from the the governor’s office on what criteria and stipulations will be, and we are not getting any facilities to play at.”

He said facilities are backing away from holding games due to liability and safety.

Stevens said the COVID-19 situation would have to improve to put together a summer league, but the key to holding a baseball season is insurance.

When K&K Insurance wouldn’t cover any COVID-19 cases that arose at a baseball game, that’s when American Legion baseball called it quits.

“Insurance isn’t a real big problem. The insurance problem is it will not cover COVID-19, so that’s the big problem,” Stevens said. “That is why everybody is ducking away from it. 

“That’s why National Legion pulled the plug on it because K&K insurance was not going to cover COVID, but I wouldn’t expect them to. They were the backing for Legion baseball, so when they weren’t going to do it, Legion pulled the plug on backing any state Legion programs.

“K&K will insure your team. They will not insure you if someone gets sick from the COVID-19 virus.”

Kyle Gunzinger, who coaches a senior Legion baseball team called the Farmington Flyers, said he feels horrible for athletes who won’t get a chance to play summer ball, but he is not planning on fielding an independent team this season.

“I also look at the liability issue,” said Gunzinger, who is in the insurance business. “Insurance is the grouping of risk, right, and it is not a good risk.

“Sometimes, as much as we dislike what we have to do, the adults in the room have to be the adults. It breaks my heart. I have been involved in baseball since I was 4 years old, in some form, shape or manner. I am 43 years old. This the first time I will not be on a baseball field.”


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