There have been multiple reports in the media regarding plans to re-open the active seasons for professional sports, including baseball, hockey and basketball. Various players have been voicing their support for games to restart, no matter the costs or the possible dangers of doing so. It is understandable why players would be publically promoting the seasons to continue, primarily to show their fans that they want to get back out there and compete. Unfortunately, when you really sit down and think about it, it is my prediction that there are simply too many unknowns at this stage, and for this reason, the basketball and hockey seasons will likely be cancelled; and the baseball season will be dramatically delayed or also cancelled.
In the local context, many organizations are looking ahead to the 2021 seasons and providing for alternative arrangements. This should be proof that the 2020 seasons are in serious jeopardy. If play was to continue, there would be no fans, players, coaches, officials and all other parties would be in quarantine -- travel will be harder, and a vast amount of profits will be lost. After recent openings and public gatherings reported in the news, allowing sports to continue is putting many more at risk, including multi-million dollar athletes whose health will be put in jeopardy. Players will also be kept away from families. The more rules that are in play, the better chance that they will be broken. It would be a media frenzy when players are caught outside of quarantine. With this in mind, please get used to watching re-runs of major sporting events on television. This may be the norm for the rest of the summer, and beyond.
YouTube has proven to be a great resource for not only “older” television shows, but also for historic sporting events. If you are interested in reliving a previous sporting event, or your favourite team’s victories, there is a good chance that it will be available on YouTube.
For those who have previously travelled to Midland, Michigan for fastball tournaments, this area has been heavily impacted by flood events due to a breach in local dams. Shocking photos are included of Currie Stadium. This stadium played host to various ISC Fastball tournaments, and the Wyevale Tribe has attended tournaments at this location. The field featured a concrete backstop, grandstand and dugouts. The Wyevale Tribe lost in the ISC II Finals at this location. Our thoughts go out to the community and surrounding areas of Midland, Michigan.
During the time of the pandemic, the community has lost two people that had influence in local sports over their lifetime. Cec Tinney, who was an active member of sports in Elmvale, passed away on April 26. Cec and his wife Marlene were members of the curling club and Cec was involved in coaching and managing the fastball teams that Marlene played on. The Tinney name is widely known for sports and volunteerism in the Elmvale community. Cec represented the Elmvale Curling Club many times in provincial playdowns and bonspiels over the years.
Between the baseball diamonds in Elmvale and Hillsdale, a familiar face will be missing for upcoming seasons. Tom “Cito” Furlong passed away on May 17. Cito was involved with the Ball Dogs fastball team in the Thursday Night Fastball League. Quickly after Cito became affiliated with the team, the Ball Dogs won a championship in 2005, and then in 2010. The team was run by Jimmy Clause and then transitioned to Jeff Moreau who still takes a leadership role with the Ball Dogs. Jimmy originally got Cito involved in the team, and Cito and Jeff have continued to be friends on and off the diamond. There is no doubt that Cito was the face of the franchise, and frequently would brag about his beloved Ball Dogs on the main street or from his prized car as he speeded by (typically holding up traffic behind him).
Cito is remembered for being a vital part of the Ball Dogs, as he sponsored the team, served as team organizer and scorekeeper, and even managed to get a few at-bats in. One local story recalls Cito taking an at-bat against Paul “Rusty” McGinnis. It only took five or six knuckleball strikes to send Cito back to the bench, but no doubt left a memory that will last forever for those watching. Cito is also remembered for running a tab at the snack bar during tournaments, and being one of the locals who could never tell the difference between Tim/Tom. People like Cito make it fun to come to the ballpark, and it shows that organizations go well beyond the players. Like Cito, many of us cannot wait to play ball and head to the park on Thursday nights. For the Ball Dogs, Thursday nights will be a little different – but they will always remember Cito.