The Red Deer Minor Baseball Association is hopeful for a return to play in 2021, but will feel the financial consequences of a lost 2020 season for a long time. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Lost season devastating for Red Deer Minor Baseball Association

Financial future uncertain after cancelled summer season

In what was supposed to be the 40th anniversary season for the Red Deer Minor Baseball Association, it will turn out to be a season unlike any other.

Baseball Alberta announced on May 8 that the season would be cancelled until Sept. 1, citing concerns for the safety of their membership because of COVID-19, causing chaos in the baseball world.

RDMBA is in the process of refunding more than 750 players who were set to hit the field this summer.

“A lost season is devastating to our non-profit association. Virtually all revenues are lost including 100 per cent of registration fees, our annual raffle, any additional fundraising planned as well as sponsorship contributions; all avenues that allow us to remain sustainable as an association, “said Renae Clark, GM of RDMBA, who also added that the significant financial losses have increased concern for the organization’s long term sustainability.

“Our association, just as any other, still has fixed expenses, regardless of a lost season, including operating costs, utilities and insurances etc… we also incurred expenses prior to the season being lost.”

Clark said more importantly, the organization feels for all the young players who were set to hit the diamond this summer, including the 18 and 19-year-olds who would have played their final season of minor baseball in Red Deer. The effect is being felt across the baseball community.

“Most importantly with the disappointment of our over 750 young athletes, their loss of development, friendships and bonds that are created by being part of a team,” Clark said.

“The families, coaches and spectators that were looking forward to being involved in our great sport this summer, to our summer work students and umpires that rely on the season for their summer income.”

She added that for house league players and in “A” baseball, fees have been refunded already and as for competitive player fees, in AA and AAA, refunds will start next week. Clark noted some families decided to donate a portion or all of their registration fees to the organization.

Without a season, RDMBA waits patiently for return to train protocols so they can adjust fall baseball programs and indoor offseason training.

“The development of our players is of utmost importance to us and we will make every effort to create programs to ensure they are prepared for the 2021 season,” Clark added.

As a whole, the organization is just like the rest of the baseball world, sad to see the season end before the first ball was ever put into play.

“We are disappointed too, we are disappointed that we will not be organizing, watching, playing or coaching the sport we all love and dedicate so much of our time to,” she said.

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