Babe Ruth baseball batting

Coach George Karinchak pitches, manager Jimmy Miller watches and Max Troiano hits during a July practice for the 12-under Arlington Strom travel team. (Photo by Dave Facinoli)

While the 2020 spring and summer baseball seasons were shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Arlington Babe Ruth still managed to hold a successful campaign, fielding 50 teams with nearly 600 players ages 8 to 12.

“Without question, 2020 was the standout season in our 35-year history. Players, coaches, umpires and parents made the most of every baseball moment,” league president J.P. Cooney said. “We held out hope and we proved that baseball could be played and enjoyed, while following strict social-distancing protocols. The season was a success on many levels, including an important measure: zero reported cases of the virus.”

The league worked throughout the spring to modify rules and establish safe play measures based on federal, state and local health guidelines, as well as gathering input from academic and global sports organizations. In close coordination with the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation and the other diamond sports leagues, Babe Ruth teams took to the fields on July 6, playing more than 140 games through a truncated season ending in August.

“Arlington Babe Ruth took a strict health-first approach to our return to play,” Cooney said. “Teams were outstanding in their commitment to promote the safety of players, coaches, umpires and parents.” 

Within the league, the Storm travel program fielded teams in age groups from 8 to 12.

In past years, Storm teams participated in Babe Ruth district and state tournaments. Those competitions were canceled this summer, along with the popular Field of Dreams tournament for 12-year-olds in Cooperstown.

With the Arlington Babe Ruth fall season now underway, the league has experienced a 30-percent surge in registrations.

“Throughout the season, we heard from families and people in Arlington who expressed gratitude that baseball was there to bring joy and hope to our community,” Cooney said.

Arlington Senior Babe Ruth for players ages 13 to 18 also held a condensed summer season, with no district-or state-tournament competitions.

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