Baseball returns to Anchorage — sans sunflower seeds and bubble gum — Wednesday with 14 teams in a new league with an abbreviated schedule and a number of recommendations in place to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.
Opening day in the Alliance Baseball League will include four games at four different fields, beginning with a 4 p.m. game at Bartlett High between Kenai and Service.
The statewide league, sponsored by the Alliance for American Legion Baseball in Alaska, is a one-year replacement for American Legion baseball, which canceled its season nationwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teams are from Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Mat-Su and the Kenai Peninsula. Kodiak, Sitka and Ketchikan are not participating.
According to the Alliance’s mitigation plan, there will be a limit of 175 people at each field and no concessions will be available. Gum, sunflower seeds and chewing tobacco — familiar items in a baseball dugout — will be prohibited.
Parents must sign a waiver that says, among other things, they won’t hold the league or its representatives liable if their child gets the virus.
Unlike the Anchorage School District, which requires temperature checks for all players before practices, the Alliance will not conduct such screenings. Instead it “encourages” players and fans to take their temperature before coming to the park and stay home if it’s 100.3 degrees or higher.
Social distancing is recommended “whenever possible” and face coverings are encouraged for fans and for players when they aren’t playing.
The regular season will consist of two parts, beginning with about two weeks of nonleague games from June 10-22. League play will run June 23-July 20, with each team playing 10 league games.
The top eight teams will advance to the July 24-29 state tournament at Mulcahy Stadium.
4 p.m. — Kenai vs. Service, Bartlett High
6:15 p.m. — Bartlett vs. East, Kosinski Fields
6:30 p.m. — Palmer vs. South, South High
6:30 p.m. — Eagle River vs. Chugiak, Oberg Field
Alliance Baseball League
Juneau Midnight Suns
North Pole Wild
Wasilla Road Warriors
Bartlett Golden Bears
Eagle River Wolves
(League games will use a scoring system that awards 4 points for a win, 1 for a loss and 0 for a forfeit. Eight teams go to the state tournament — the top two in each division and the next four with the most points regardless of division.)
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