Old Rochester Youth Baseball resumes season play

Jul 7, 2020

ROCHESTER — After months of waiting due to the stop of recreational sports, and a week or so delay due to reopening guidelines, players of the Old Rochester Youth Baseball League finally took the field to take part in America’s pastime (with coronavirus precautions in place).

Although players were on the field, the dugouts were empty. Instead, each player hung up their bag in spots on the sideline fence and stood in a designated zone marked on the ground for each player. 

Signs posted near the stands encouraged fans to stay socially distanced and to be courteous of others.

Nathan Mendes, coach of the Tri-Town Barbershop team in the majors division, expressed his excitement to have his players on the field.

“Not to be sappy, but it makes me wanna cry,” Mendes said.

His son Zachary was on the mound that evening. Nathan said his son was training from last September until now for this season.

“These kids are having a blast,” Nathan said.

Matthew Trahan was there to watch his son Cooper play on the same team.

He said that it is “good to be out here” even though this is “not like the baseball we’re used to.”

When he asked Cooper if he wanted to play this year, his son replied that he wanted to see his friends again.

“I couldn’t argue with that,” he said.

Matthew didn’t have any major concerns about his son’s safety because of the age group. The only slight concern he mentioned was having the players become virus carriers and passing it to a grandparent.

Safety is something that League President Peter Vieira has in mind. He said he had the signs up and spots marked since last week when the league started prematurely. 

The early start was due to confusion about when outdoor sports was allowed to start after phase three of Governor Charlie Baker’s reopening plan was pushed back from June 29 to July 6.

When the phase was pushed back, Vieira said in a phone interview on July 2, he didn’t receive guidance as to whether outdoor sports were included in the delay. 

After the Rochester Board of Health received resident complaints, the town called Vieira on July 1 and told him that the league had to wait to resume games until phase three started the following week. 

Only two scheduled games were cancelled because of the delay. 

He respected the town’s decision, and said that the games played until the postponement went “quite well,” and everyone followed the rules.

“It’s time for the Bulldogs to play ball again,” said Vieira.