Two months later, it's time for baseball in the Delco League

From the Daily Times posted Jun 28, 2020

 When the coronavirus pandemic hit and shut down sports at every level from youth leagues to the pros, Concord Canes manager Frank Saviski did not have a good feeling there would be a Delco League season this summer.

“I didn’t think it was going to happen,” Saviski said.

Thankfully, Saviski was wrong.

Nearly two months later than scheduled, the Delco League will kick off its 113th season Tuesday with the traditional meeting of the two teams that played in the final the year before. Concord and defending champion Wayne open the season Tuesday at Devon Prep. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wayne needed five games to hold off the Canes and win their record 16th league title last season.

“I’m excited that we get to play,” Saviski said.

League president Nick Ducomb hopes to have a live audio stream of the game on the league’s website, The Concord-Wayne game will be the first of six scheduled for this week. There are three games scheduled for Wednesday and two for Thursday before the league shuts down for the July 4 weekend. Concord, Wayne, Narberth and Upper Darby will play two games in the first three days. Aston Valley, Chester, Marple Newtown and Springfield will play one game each. The league is still finalizing some field availabilities but Ducomb hopes to have the rest of the schedule out by mid-week.

“We’re certainly in uncharted territory here,” Ducomb said. “There are still some things we have to work out. No one can predict what’s going to happen, but we’re certainly going to give it a go. We’re going to start on Tuesday and do the best we can to be flexible to changes that are needed for the safety of everyone involved and getting the games in.”

The regular-season schedule has been reduced from 32 games per team to 16. Those 16 games will be played over a 33- or 34-day span for time reasons. One big change for this season is that all eight teams will make the playoffs instead of the usual six. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be a best-of-3 series, while the finals will remain a best-of-5 set. The 25 percent rule for playoff eligibility remains intact, which means a player must make an appearance in at least four games to be playoff eligible.

Ducomb expects the regular-season to end Aug. 2 or 3 with the playoffs to conclude in the third week of August. Last year, Game 5 of the championship series was on Aug. 12.

“I figure we’re going to be 10 days to two week behind normal,” Ducomb said.


There also is one less team in the league this season. The Middletown Lions chose not to play for safety reasons.

“It was not an easy decision,” Middletown general manager Bill DeFeo said. “We didn’t want anything to happen to the players that would affect their future. We’re going to miss it, but safety has to come first. We’ll still follow the league and hopefully the Lions will be back next season.”

Safety is a major concern for the league, Ducomb said, and the league will be following CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines for restarting team sports in the green zone.

Every player and umpire will have their temperature taken before each game with temporal thermometers provided by the league. Temporal thermometers use an infrared scanner to record a person’s temperature. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or above will not be allowed to participate and must return home. Anyone with a temperature of 100.3 or below is good to go.

Also, players are asked to practice social distancing while on the bench or in the dugout, not share equipment and should refrain from high fives and fist bumps. Wearing a mask is not required but players are encouraged to do so when not on the field. Fans should also follow all CDC and DOH guidelines and practice social distancing at games.

Ducomb said he is finalizing other safety protocols and is keeping his options open amid a fluid situation.

“We’re open to change,” Ducomb said. “Look at the PGA Tour. They’re out there changing their model on an almost daily, let alone weekly basis to accommodate some of the things that are popping up. We will remain flexible and if certain things need to be changed we’re certainly going to make those changes.

"I’m not naïve. I know we’re going to encounter obstacles and have to make change. It’s going to happen, but we’re trying to get ourselves up here and play some baseball.”

That’s all anyone wants.

“At least we’ll get some baseball in and hopefully a full season as long as nothing crazy happens,” Wayne manager Brian Fili said. “The biggest thing is have a season. It’s the oldest (semi-pro) league in the country; play what we can, crown a champion in August, move on and hopefully we can go back to normal next year.”