Baseball is swinging once again

MEDFORD, Ore. — 45 youth baseball teams from Oregon and northern California are back into the swing of things at a Medford tournament this weekend.

Medford Parks and Recreation Director, Rich Rosenthal, spent his Saturday watching his son play on one of the teams involved in the Mid-Summer Monster Tournament at U.S. Cellular Community fields.

It’s the first sports tournament since Governor Brown’s orders to shut the state down to limit the spread of coronavirus.

“There is tremendous demand for recreation programs and services,” Rosenthal said. “Baseball is something that can be offered because it has a built-in distancing, the nature of the game,” he added.

Joe Womack and his family are down from Eugene for the tournament.

“It’s a little weird how cool it is because you’ve just been without it and you don’t realize sometimes what is special until you lose it,” Womack said.

Parks and Rec put out additional rules for the U-10 to U-14 teams and guests participating from Oregon and California.

Special regulations include things like one way entries and exits to the fields, sanitizer stations, distancing, staff wearing masks, no entry fees to limit cash and card handling, and limiting visitors to only those needed to transport the players.

“There are far fewer people in the complex right now than we’ve ever seen for a youth baseball tournament because we told people ‘if your child is playing, only essential people should be here’ and I’ve noticed people have been very compliant,” Rosenthal said. “People are very cognisant that if the rules aren’t followed, that it’s putting people at risk,” he added.

It’s not the typical Medford summer sports tournament, but all involved said it’s a positive step for youth sports.

The tournament finishes tomorrow, Sunday, with live YouTube feeds of the games available for anyone to watch at home.

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