Online Originals: Tryouts begin for Greenville Little League amid pandemic


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) Things are slowly starting to get back to normal in the sports world. Greenville Little League is back out on the diamond for tryouts at Elm Street Park on Wednesday.

With growing anticipation, the upcoming 2020 season will be unlike any other.

“It’s kind of what we live for all Winter and Fall is the start of little league season,” said Brian Weingartz, Greenville Little League Commissioner. “I did not go to sleep until between two and three o’clock in the morning last night just because of excitement and anticipation for what’s about to happen today and hopefully the coming days.” 

Previous Little League tryouts would consist of large groups of players together in Stallings Stadium. That is now changing to follow social distancing recommendations.

“Typically what we would do, we give kids a 90 to 75 minute block where 50 to 65 kids, to 75 will come in during that time,” said Weingartz. “What we’ve done this year is we’ve broken it down to 15 minute blocks with groups of 5 coming in.”  

Tryouts are short-and-sweet. Each player will have two, 15-minute opportunities to show their skill. Parents and children are encouraged to leave the facility once their time is over.

“When tryouts are over we want people to leave as quickly as possible so we can keep our numbers here at the park down,” said Weingartz.

This is being enforced with regards to Governor Cooper’s Phase II recommendations, specifying that no more than 25 people are allowed to gather together outdoors.

With the coronavirus still hanging around, the future of Little League remains uncertain. Looking ahead, Weingartz is hopeful that events will remain on schedule, including fielding 2020 All-Stars.

“I don’t know if there is even going to be a district or state tournament, but we are planning on picking all-star teams and taking those teams and letting them play a best out of five series against each other. So, it should be a pretty good level of baseball, I would think, come August.” 

Regardless of the schedule, coming together would not have been possible without the city’s support.

“We are grateful for the city of Greenville, considering us to allow us to play this year,” added Weingartz. “There’s a lot of places this year that that consideration is not being given to the local leagues.” 

For now, extra sanitation stations will remain in place as tryouts continue through Friday.

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