It was a rocky start for the sport of baseball in most parts of Manitoba, as the gloomy weather and flooding conditions delayed the start of the season for many leagues. Baseball Manitoba executive director Jason Miller says it's been nice to see how well people have handled the situation.
"In some ways, it's a bit frustrating. But ultimately, everyone has done a great job of pivoting and making the best of it," Miller explains. "We had longer to get practices in before games could start, and we were creative about where those practices could happen. I know some took place on dry grassy fields, some took place in parking lots, and others took place indoors."
Despite the delays, Miller says the amount of people in the province playing baseball has exceeded their expectations.
"We're pleasantly surprised with that. People have come back to our game, which is so nice to see. It was pretty steady throughout the early spring, and I'll be honest, I didn't look in the last few weeks, but we were already approaching 2019 numbers and we were getting to the point where we were back where we needed to be. Junior and Senior teams are still registering now with the deadline not being until June 15."
After two years without holding a provincial tournament, Miller says they couldn't be more excited to bring the best teams together in one area once again. Miller notes while it's great to be putting these on, he says it almost feels foreign.
"It feels strange to be back in the thick of it doing all this planning. It's almost like we're re-learning things for the first time. So, there's a lot of questioning what we're doing and making sure that we're on the right track," Miller explains. "It's been a learning curve for our host, and it's been a learning curve for me in our office. Just getting back to normal has been challenging but exciting."
The lone national tournament taking place in Manitoba this year will be the Senior Women's Invitational in Stonewall this July.
"These wonderful ladies and the coaches on this team have been working hard at high-performance female baseball for the last decade," Miller continues. "They've been playing on our 14U teams and 16U teams. Now, they're grown adults with jobs, some of them starting families, but they still want to come back and play and compete for Manitoba. These women do not only play, but they also coach on other provincial teams, and they give back with our girls' camps."