Time Will Tell The Impact On Local Baseball

Local baseball returned to the diamond this weekend, but only in small doses, and the lasting impact on Chatham-Kent’s baseball community won’t be known immediately.

“This is the first year in close to 35 years that I haven’t been on a baseball diamond so it has been a very disappointing period of time,” said Chatham Minor Baseball Association president Jason Chickowski.

“Baseball has meant so much to me as it has to so many families in the CMBA family.  I miss coaching a great deal.”

Baseball has definitely played a major role in Chatham-Kent for decades as one of the areas most popular youth sports. As you enter the town, signs can be seen highlighting Chatham as the home of Fergie Jenkins and Doug Melvin.

Unfortunately for minor baseball in Chatham, the COVID-19 pandemic came at a time when registration to play had hit a high.

“The pandemic hit at a time when our registration numbers were close to our 15 year high so it is exciting to see that baseball is still one of the chosen summertime sports in our community.”

But will they all return next season?

“Time will tell what the impact upon CMBA will be,” said Chickowski.

“We are hopeful that players miss the game a great deal and will relish the opportunity to get back on the diamond in 2021. “

Chickowski also worries about Chatham’s youth, because of the positives he knows sport participation can have on an individual.

“I worry about the kids.  This has been a very difficult time for them as they too have struggled through a period of great uncertainty.  I know firsthand that kids that keep busy in athletics stay out of trouble.  I hope that our youth have found safe and fun entertainment to keep them active.”

With the summer ticking away, Chickowski is now looking to the future for baseball in Chatham-Kent.

“As some of the restrictions have loosened up recently I know that some of our players have made their ways to open green spaces to practice with friends.  I hope they play as much baseball as they reasonably can given the circumstances.”

“I wish I knew what 2021 will look like.  I know there will be ups and downs and I just hope that those who were signed up to play this year will come back next year.”

2021 will be Chatham Minor Baseball Association’s 75th anniversary season.

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