How Will Camrose Manage One Baseball Field In 2020?
Posted March 19, 2020
Should the 2020 Powerline Baseball League season start as planned, the City of Camrose and baseball in Camrose are going to have a scheduling nightmare on their hands which will have an impact on the PBL and it’s two Camrose franchises, the Axemen and the Roadrunners. It is expected that on March 20 the City will have an understanding of what they are going to do after a meeting with Camrose Minor Ball.
Harry Andreassen Field Usage
For 2020, there may be a total of five teams vying for time at the only suitable baseball field in town, Harry Andreassen Field at Rudy Swanson Park. Camrose Minor Ball has developed and launched a U18 AAA baseball team to compete in Baseball Alberta’s Norwest League for 2020 as well as a House League 18U team. The Powerline Baseball League will once again feature the Camrose Axemen and Camrose Roadrunners and new on the scene are the Battle River Bisons. The Bisons are a 30+ team set to compete in their inaugural Alberta West Central Baseball Association season. That puts five teams on one field in 2020.
In past seasons the City has managed three users with the likes of Camrose Minor Ball’s U18 AA teams and depending on the year a combination of two of the Axemen, Colts or Roadrunners. But 2020 will see two big changes that the City is going to have to navigate and teams will have to work around.
First there is higher facility usage requirements for a U18 AAA team compared to that of a U18 AA team. In many minor baseball associations across the province, U18 AAA programs are on a field at least six times a week with a hosting weekend mixed in. It is a jump up from four or five sessions a week the 18U AA programs utilize. That means you could see bookings on Harry Andreassen Field every weeknight say 4:00pm to 6:00pm or 5:00pm to 7:00pm for an 18U team. In order to compete in the stacked U18 Norwest League and in order to develop baseball players for the Camrose Cougars U18 AAA team, an abundance of field time will be needed.
Second, the addition of a new team that might require the field at least once per week, maybe twice a week on some weeks, will help fill any time slots that could have been used for any re-bookings due to the weather. In Sherwood Park, where there are two AWCBA teams as well as a Sunburst team, NCABL team and three U18 teams (A,AA,AAA). The two 30+ teams will be required to play on weekends after 4pm when the fields are available. If the schedule for Harry Andreassen Field is filled up enough during the week, fans might get to see more senior men’s action on the weekends. Ideally, 18U make up games get scheduled for the middle of the week to allow for rest between the previous weekend and the next weekend.
What 2020 Could Look Like
The U18 AAA and 18U House League Camrose Cougars should have priority, and rightfully so, on Harry Andreassen Field. The focus of facilities should be on that of minor baseball from the local baseball association. However, there is a decent amount of revenue that comes from field rentals by the senior men’s teams for their practices and games. The fee structure for senior men’s, especially with the infamous lights turned on ($38/hour), is substantially higher than youth sports for Harry Andreassen field (minimum $81.70/rental vs minimum $49/rental).
With U18 AAA practices running on most weeknights the City might decide that the senior men’s teams have to share one night a week for home games, say Friday night, or Monday night depending on the week, or they might be able to get the field but not until 7:30pm each night and without an infield float after U18 AAA practice. Or the only openings for senior men’s teams might be limited to weekend evenings as well, after the fields are used by the 18U teams for hosting weekends and practices.
An immediate thought would be to see one team utilize another field within the County of Camrose. Armena appears to have more minor baseball which is tremendous for the area and it leaves the Royals with a Thursday only home schedule. Making it unlikely that another men’s team could be accommodated. Perhaps the affectionately named Homer Dome in Rosalind could see another men’s team hit the field?
Three's A Crowd?
Another thing baseball fans should look out for this season will be how three different men’s teams can co-exist in Camrose with another two (Armena and Rosalind) sitting just outside the city limits. There is definitely no shortage of places for Camrose area players to play baseball but will the pool of ready and able baseball players run dry for a team or two? And if a couple of teams were running thin on players could you see a combination of teams join to make one stable team? This will be something new for Camrose baseball fans as they should be able to head down to Harry Andreassen Field four to five times a week and see a Camrose baseball team in action.
Field maintenance is going to be a key factor with this much usage on the field. The mound, the batter’s box and areas around the bases will need to be monitored closely to ensure that Harry Andreassen Field is being taken care of after every game, and more than just dragging shale into the holes. For years there has been talk of teams developing a post game field maintenance schedule and expectations so that the field will be in pristine condition for the next user. With 18U AAA baseball coming to town this season, it kind of feels like 2020 will need to be the year that this is created and followed by all teams who use the field.
It will be a crowded baseball in Camrose that has everyone hoping things work smoothly.
Will There Be A 2020 Powerline Baseball League Season?
Right now, it is too early to tell. We are all hoping that the 2020 Powerline Baseball League season will get underway as planned in early May, but there is always the chance that the measures implemented by all levels of government might not allow for it. There are vast measures being undertaken in our communities to try and stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus and flatten the curve helping everyone get back to their regular lives. The PBL Executive will continue to monitor the situation in our communities and follow the guidelines set forward by Alberta Health Services and Baseball Alberta as it pertains to playing baseball as the spring rolls around.
Since the first year of the PBL back in 1933, a span of 86 seasons, there have only been five years in which the league did not operate. Due to the Second World War breaking out in 1939 and roughly 1,100,000 men and women joining the war effort for Canada, the PBL did not operate from 1941 through 1945. Since 1946 the PBL has not missed a season of play, however the league has not been faced with a situation quite like the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic that the world is facing in 2020 during this time.
The PBL will keep teams, players and fans up to date as the situation evolves, but fingers are crossed that the sacrifices to our daily lives today will mean we are back to our normal way of life as soon as possible.