The Saipan Little League Baseball Association is now setting its sights to resuming American’s favorite pastime sometime in the first quarter of 2022 after competition had been shelved the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We called it off last year because of the virus. Earlier this year we also didn’t have it because there was still no vaccination for kids. There is now vaccination for kids, so we now have a recommendation from Williamsport that by next year we should’ve a season,” said SLLBA president Mike Borja.
He also took the opportunity to squash rumors that there was a problem with the local Little League charter and that’s why they were unable to start a season in June this year. In a meeting last May, Borja and the SLLBA board announced that they will start games in the Majors division in June 15 with the Braves, Blue Jays, Comets, Marlins, and Twins competing.
“The recommendation from Little League headquarters in Williamsport all along is not to have any Little League season for the safety of the kids. Look at what happened to the Little League World Series, there was no international team,” said Borja
He said the CNMI’s location in the middle of the Pacific between Asia and the U.S. mainland also complicated the resumption of the 2021 season of the Little League.
“Specially us we are situated in the Asia Pacific so all the travel ban and all these pandemic just popped up everywhere. That’s one thing why we decided to just call off the Little League 2020-2021 season. By December we will be holding a meeting and part of the agenda is the start of the 2022 Little League.”
Borja added that by the first quarter of 2022, the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Baseball Field will be up and running again thanks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“The field will be in its primetime condition by that time and not only ready for Little League but also the Mini Games in June,” he said, alluding to the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games the CNMI will be hosting for the first time from June 17 to 25, 2022.
Borja also is thanking his lucky stars that they aborted the Little League season this year what with the current surge in local COVID-19 positive cases.
“There’s a community outbreak right now but at least we have vaccination for the kids now,” he said.