BILLINGS — The 2020 American Legion Baseball championships, including all eight regional tournaments and the World Series, have been canceled, the American Legion announced Tuesday.
The 2020 American Legion Baseball scholarships have also been suspended.
The cancellation is the result of the coronavirus pandemic. Legion teams across the country will not be able to complete prerequisite league play between May and July because schools and playing facilities are closed. The American Legion also cited health concerns with regionals and the World Series, which is held in Shelby, North Carolina. Travel to these games and high numbers of spectators could increase the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“These times are unparalleled. And while it is distressing to think of all those youth across the nation who are disappointed to learn of the cancellation of American Legion programs this year, it would be a much, much greater tragedy if even just one of those youth were to fall ill during a program," Americanism Commission chairman Richard Anderson said in a press release. “The Americanism Commission feels this is the right thing to do.”
The Commission did not give a directive for individual states. Montana-Alberta American Legion Baseball teams would like to play a conference schedule and a state tournament this summer, Bozeman Bucks coach Garrett Schultz told 406mtsports.com Tuesday.
"Montana is trying to hold out as long as we can and hope the situation gets better," Schultz said.
Legion baseball programs across Montana, including Billings American Legion Baseball, suspended all baseball activities last month. On March 24, the American Legion recommended that all legion teams postpone meetings, practices, tryouts, workouts, etc. The suspended activities for the Bucks and other Montana teams will continue for the foreseeable future, Schultz said.
Schultz added that Montana legion teams are keeping a close eye on the status of high school spring sports, which were suspended indefinitely on March 16. The Montana High School Association will reevaluate the suspension Thursday.
Also on Tuesday, Gov. Steve Bullock extended Montana's stay-at-home order and K-12 school closure through April 24.
The Bucks won last year's State AA title to reach the Region 7 tournament, where they lost to Idaho Falls in the region championship game. Idaho Falls beat Fargo, North Dakota, for the World Series crown.
"It's disappointing, for sure, that there's not gonna be that possibility for someone from Montana to advance to regionals or the World Series," Schultz said. "But that's out of our control. From here, we're gonna give our kids the best experience we can."