WASHINGTON, Mo. – Some American Legion baseball players in the St. Louis area may not have to wait until next year to play after all. The summer season has been canceled due to the pandemic but an unofficial COVID league has started up in Washington, Missouri. The league is even attracting players from Illinois.
“I knew good and well in our own community that everybody wanted to have a season,” said Coach Kent Getsee, who started the new league.
Getsee has been coaching American Legion ball for 18 years, so he had quite a database of contacts of coaches and players. After several emails and phone calls, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Getsee said dozens of teams, with players aged 15 to 18, have signed up.
“So, we felt like if we could continue to play and get kids on the field, we could honor them also by having senior nights and acknowledging parents and do those kinds of things to bring a little bit of normalcy back to everybody’s life,” he said. “The American Legion, I’m not going to say they blessed us to do this, but they were totally okay with us continuing to play as long as we’re not wearing the American Legion emblem anywhere.”
Several American Legion teams from Alton and Bellville have signed up to play in the unofficial and unsanctioned league in Missouri.
“They have a very large American Legion district. It’s called District 22 based out of Illinois, and the guys from over there were interested because they weren’t sure when their fields were going to open up,” Getsee said.
Games will be played almost every night at Ronsick Field until mid-July, with social distancing guidelines in place to keep people safe.
“We’ve had so many families just wanting to see their kids, their grandkids playing the game,” Getsee said. “It’s been quite the response and we’re thrilled that we’re able to do our small part.”