Team preparing for seventh season with delayed opening
YAKIMA, Wash. – As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect lives across the nation and the world, the Yakima Valley Pippins remain committed to a 2020 collegiate baseball season at Yakima County Stadium this summer.
The West Coast League announced today a delayed start for the season, originally scheduled for June 5, to early July, based on recent announcements from governing officials in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, the states and province in which the league’s 12 teams are located.
“The situation is constantly evolving, and the only thing we know right now is that a June 5 opening is not an option,” Pippins general manager Jeff Garretson said. “Delaying until July allows us to continue to monitor the local progress of the outbreak and prepare and adapt for a safe experience for players, fans, staff and others at the ballpark.”
Garretson added that the team will adhere to all local, state and federal guidelines.
“Sports are an important part of our collective consciousness as a nation, and we’re definitely missing them right now,” he said. “Locally, baseball has a long and storied history, and we feel we can play a big role in helping the community heal and repair a sense of normalcy that we don’t have currently.”
Because of other state or provincial restrictions, some WCL teams will not be fielding teams this summer, the league announcement stated. But all 12 teams are committed to playing in 2021, and a 13th team in Nanaimo, British Columbia, will join the WCL next year.
Garretson said the delayed start also gives the team time to prepare for a different experience this year.
“This certainly will not be the experience we’ve seen over the past six years,” Garretson said. “We will have limited seating available to maintain social distancing practices, for example. We’ll likely be moving to a cashless experience onsite for ticket sales, merchandise sales and concessions. We’ll utilize a new concessions app to order and pay online to limit lines. We’re working through all those scenarios and will work with Yakima County and the Health Department to provide a safe family-friendly experience when the time is right.”
A revised schedule will be released in the next several weeks, Garretson said. In the meantime, all online ticket sales have been halted while a new schedule is built. All previously purchased tickets will be valid in the revised summer schedule and single-game and group ticket buyers will be able to transfer those tickets to new games as needed, he added.