A Humboldt State pitcher delivers the pitch during the Jacks club baseball game on September 28th, 2019 at the Arcata Ball Park. | Photo by Liam Warner

Baseball clubs across California come together

Club baseball organizations from the CSU system discuss COVID-19 obstacles
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Club baseball organizations from the CSU system discuss COVID-19 obstacles

Humboldt State University club teams are not the only ones having issues with recruiting and getting on the field. Baseball clubs across the Cal State system came together to discuss the cancellations of their seasons due to COVID-19.

Most teams present have been unable to do anything in-person due to quarantine. Players from University of San Francisco came up with a unique idea to combat restricted field access.

Alex Bradshaw, a member of the USF baseball club, is able to practice with his teammates because of a homemade batting cage.

“Saul Diaz [a member of USF baseball] was able to build a homemade batting cage that some of us are able to meet up at and hit some balls,” Bradshaw said. “There are only about five of us on the team right now so no rules are broken and we are doing our part in social distancing.”

HSU athletic clubs aren’t the only ones getting the short end of the stick when it comes to not being able to get on the field.

Aiden Patterson, president of the USF baseball club, has been facing the same problems when it comes to creating a game plan to get back on the field.

“They are slowly bringing sports back into our area. Our university is not working with us now and they never did,” Patterson said. “Our club is not allowed to use equipment or fields on campus. Our club sports representative has been trying to work with the Athletic Director but they have not even budged a little on the issue.”

Robert Rocha, president of Long Beach State University’s baseball club, has been working hard with his university to get the team back to practicing.

“Up until two weeks ago there was no chance of us getting back on the field,” Rocha said. “ Then I received and email last week with guidelines for practice from a representative of the NCAA that I sent to club sports and they are reviewing the situation right now.”

During the meeting, Martin Gordillo, president of HSU’s baseball club, questioned if club teams would compete in the spring season, some were hesitant to say yes. The debate surrounds wanting to compete and not wanting to expose players to COVID-19.

“Going back to practice is hard to decide,” Rocha said. “It is frustrating because we want to practice, but I do not want to have guys risk their own health for us to play baseball.”

Daniel Pena, Cal State Fullerton University’s baseball club president, spoke on the risk of COVID-19 extending beyond players on the field and into their households.

“I know some of my players live with their parents and grandparents,” Pena said. “I just don’t want any house to be jeopardized. It is a hard decision because we don’t want to force the issue of people being hurt and sick.”

The biggest problem at hand surrounds lack of players for the competitive season. COVID-19 has created boundaries surrounding club outreach and recruitment.

“We are only three to five people,” Patterson said. “It isn’t a matter of will, but if we will be able to compete. We can’t even recruit during these times. We just don’t have the numbers.”

Recruitment and outreach has limited player enrollment. Pena found it difficult to motivate returning players, adding that the team’s competitive attitude is down due to the cancellation of their season.

“A lot of guys graduated,” Pena said. “Recruiting is going horrible and I have difficulty contacting my teammates. They don’t respond to me probably because there is no effort put into this season. It’s hard to be competitive when there is no season to look forward to.”

The meeting between CSU baseball clubs has solidified the fact that the spring season remains undecided. Even if teams were permitted to compete in the spring, they may be unable to play due to the lack of players on the field.

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