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SAMSPA - St. Albert Men's Slow Pitch Association
News and Information:

 

SAMSPA SURVIVED COVID-19 FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN

TOP 3 TEAM's in Fundraising Challenge

1. Mavericks - $1,500.00  2. Old Buzzards - $1,461.00  3. Dynasty Relics - $1,401.00   

Single                  $20 to $100                                        Double                $101 to $200

Don Hamaliuk           John  Pulkrabek                                           Wayne Hilsendeger      Allfour Technology Enterprises Inc.

L Meszaros               Cam Kaplar                                                  Anonymous #2             Don Darling

Don Carson              Ivan Mayer                                                   Ryan Markowski           Edward Hachkowski 

John Holden             View Office Technology                                Larry Galye                  Grace & Garry Cattoni

Rob Edmunds           Leo & Lenore Boisvert                                 Bob Stewart                 John Cuccaro

Rob Coulthard          Randy Mandryk                                            Frank Jansen               Al McGee

John Jansen             Ken Crutchfield                                            Brooke Rothwell          St. Albert Elk's Lodge #585

Arnie Miller               Roger Miller                                                  Richard Osadchuk       Don Noon

Scott Doak               Don Anderson                                              Fraternal Order of Eagles

Al Weninger             Craig Pritchard

MJB Landscaping    Mike Stasiuk

Ron Hill                    Lynn Gallagher

 

Triple                  $201 to $300                                       Home Run          $301 to $999.00

 Anonymous #1          Paul Hjartarson                                           Joel McGovern         Titans 50+

Rick Johnson             Len Sterling                                                 Malcolm Parker        Bob Savage

Ken Wichers              Neil McKay                                                  Phil Presakarchuk    Can Alta Sox

Larry Morrison           Rockers                                                       Robert Nisbet           Bad Company 60+                  

                                                                                                      Estate Connection Law Office

                                                                                                      Dynasty Relics          St. Albert 60's 

                                                                                                      Old Buzzards

 

                                               Grand Slam        $1000+

                                       Warren Stevenson MFP Resources

                                             Raiders 70+             Canadian Fence

                                             Bad Comapny 50+   Mavericks

Help us hit it out of the park

Funds raised to July 9th, 2020 $16,244.00  

 

 

Attention SAMSPA Players, Managers and Coaches:

After a lengthy meeting last night, the Board has voted to cancel the 2020 softball season. This was a very difficult decision for the Board to make, but a decision that we feel is in the best interests of the league and our players when all factors are considered.

For some of you, this announcement will come as a relief; for others, it will seem like the right thing to do; and for many of you, it will come as a disappointment. These are the same reactions I observed in our Board members last night and over the past several weeks. For those who are disappointed with this decision, I will walk you through our rationale.

But before I get into that, I want to recognize the significant contributions of the Board who have gone way above and beyond, leaving no stones unturned in trying to find a way back to ball this season. They have been working tirelessly developing plans, proposals, logistical strategies, communication plans, training procedures and re-thinking the game; all so we could have a partial 2020 season. Not to mention meeting once or twice a week for months. It’s worth mentioning that our final decision to cancel the season was heavily debated before a vote was called last night.

Our Rationale

To play ball this season, countless unprecedented hurdles had to be overcome. We needed to consider many factors:

1)      Player safety

2)      Transmission spread prevention

3)      COVID Response plan

4)      Traceability

5)      Compliance with municipal and provincial guidelines

6)      Accountability measures at all levels – players, coaches, managers, staff

7)      Availability of umpires

8)      Cohorts versus changing the game

9)      Costs to play and financial implications to league

10)   Ability to run a concession and possible limitations

11)   Cleaning and sanitation protocols

12)   And a myriad of other details

We were able to get approval from the City and the Province on our Return to Play Safety Plan – a major hurdle we cleared this week. But there were still more hurdles appearing on the horizon. In the end, there was no single reason for the decision to cancel the season. Here are a few observations: 

-   The earliest we could start was July 13 and that was not ensured.

-   The Board felt that the risks outweigh the potential reward of a partial season. 

-   The amount of effort to launch and run the season compounded with the high degree of uncertainty and lack of control led us to this conclusion. 

-   It would be very difficult to manage the things in our control and despite our best efforts, a few COVID cases in our league could wipe out weeks of the shortened season.

-   Many teams were dropping out for a variety of reasons.

-   It was looking like we would have to umpire our own games which meant more teams would drop.

-   We were going to have to hire staff to ensure the protocols were enforced and that washrooms were sanitized every three hours

-   The logistics to consider were endless and new ones kept cropping up.

-   The concession staff were willing to open, but reluctantly.  They were worried about exposure and transmission, both ways.

The Silver Lining

Despite the heaviness of letting go of the 2020 season, the work that we have done in preparation is not lost. We will be able to leverage many of the protocols and plans we have developed going forward; fine tuning as needed based on what is happening with the pandemic. 

Once I’ve had a few days to reflect, I will provide a more detailed update. We owe it to you to provide the details.

Have a great summer and see you next season!

Regards,

Joel McGovern

 

June 27th, 2020

SAMSPA Managers, Coaches and Players

As we continue to peel back layers of the onion that governs what our 2020 partial season will look like, I would like to update you on our progress and what the season is looking like based on discussions with the City, the government and the umpires. 

We have heard from many of you wanting further clarification on the safety precautions and changes to the game. As you know, this season will be far from normal and its important that you make informed decisions. In this update I will provide you the latest information we have available.

We are currently back and forth with the City of St. Albert on our proposal and may not have a decision until the end of the coming week. We also have upcoming discussions with the Province on the definitions of Cohort and its application in team sports play. This is a key component of our return to play strategy.

We need your feedback

As you will see in the coming update, there are numerous steps to getting this season off the ground and several changes to what we are used to regarding the game itself. 

We really need your feedback. Please let us know how supportive you are of the proposed model below.  Would your team be willing to play under these conditions? 

I know Lynda has already polled teams and at least ¾ of the teams are planning to play, but many of those teams were also concerned about the amount of change that would be introduced. Hopefully this update provides greater clarity on what the game will look like for 2020.

A Word about Cohorts

Every league that we are aware of is adopting the team sports Cohort model of play where a group of 50 players including an umpire are restricted to playing each other for the duration of the season or until the cohort size is adjusted by the Chief Medical Officer of Health. 

With our large rosters, this would restrict us to 2-3 team cohorts playing each other over and over. We have heard from many members of the league and there has been no support for the Cohort approach that limits your exposure to other teams. The Board views this as a showstopper so we are proposing an alternative approach which I will discuss shortly. 

Another important feature of cohorts to consider: if you are in one, you are not supposed to be in any others regardless of the nature of the Cohort. This includes different leagues, different sports, etc. The idea of the Cohort is to create a limited exposure group that can interact with each other in a relatively normal way in terms of the game itself.

SAMSPA Approach

We are proposing to modify the game to ensure social distancing between the defensive team and the batting team as well as the umpire. Here are the key elements:

-  Catcher has defined box 2M from batting boxes

-  Ump has 2 defined locations marked to call plays from both sides of plate – further back

-  We add a second set of bases for the runners at least 2M from the existing defensive bags

-  To create the distance between defenders and runners, we are proposing to:

• have the running bags beyond the defensive bags. 

• advantage goes to the defenders

• should reduce scoring thereby reducing length of games, thereby giving us time between games to sanitize

-  There will be no tagging

-  Instead, there will be force plays at every bag and a commitment line between all bases

-  Umpire will make calls from their designated location so they will not be entering the field of play to make calls

-  Exact locations of bags and commitment lines will be worked out in a simulation game

-  Below is a mock-up of the concept with the orange line and bags for the runner
 

Diamond Mockup

 

-  Runners must avoid defenders making plays on balls to ensure the 2M distance is respected

By protecting the defensive team from the batting team, we intend to allow teams to play all teams within their division. 

On the defensive side, we cannot fully prevent two defenders from coming together so we will need to have each team become a Cohort.

Cohorts are back?

Yes, but different. Each team is a cohort. That allows them to come together occasionally on defense and also allows teams to sit together in the concession. Each diamond will have designated home and visitor picnic tables in the concession. Teams in a cohort can sit together.

What if my team has players from another team?

Depending upon submitted roster sizes, more than one team can form a cohort provided the total cohort size remains at or below 50. Once you are in a cohort, you cannot be part of another. Cohorts will be tracked by the league. As an example, the Old Buzzards 60 and Old Buzzards 70 can form a cohort and share players.

What if I want to belong to a cohort in another league?

Then you cannot play in SAMSPA. This is a violation of the directives of the CMOH around cohorts. It’s very limiting on players who play for multiple teams in different leagues and choices will have to be made. We will need to abide by this if we wish to launch the season.

What about liability?

Every player will be required to sign a waiver before being allowed to play this season. We are investigating a way of tracking completed waivers on the roster page of our website. This waiver is essential for protecting the league and its Directors should a COVID case be linked back to our facility or members. This will be mandatory for us to proceed with a season.

What about umpires?

We continue to work on this issue. Some umpires are already tied to existing cohorts. Because we are creating an environment that always guarantees the 2M social distance, we are hoping to work around this cohort limitation but we do not have approval on this concept as yet.  If we cannot resolve the issue, we may have a shortfall of umpires, different umpires of possible no umpires and could face self-umping games. We need to be prepared for the possibility of self-umping games of having a games umped by other teams on a schedule.

What are we doing for 60+ players?

The province expects us to have a strategy to protect older players. To this end, we are proposing the following:

-  They have their own time-slots

-  Plus 60 and Plus 70 teams can form cohorts across those two divisions but cannot cohort with Plus 40, Plus 50 or Open divisions

-  The Concession will open to Plus 40/50/Open at the end of the first evening game (6:30 slot) thereby allowing the Plus 60 players time in the concession without added exposure to other players

Are we required to do pre-game health checks?

Yes. The manager/coach will be asked to survey every member of the team present at the game asking some basic health questions.  Any player that responds YES will be asked to leave. The Manager/Coach will then have to sign off on the game sheet that the health check was completed. The umpire may ask for verification that this has been done.  Game sheets must be kept for the duration of the season to assist in contact tracing should the need arise.

What happens if a member of our league tests positive for COVID?

That player will be quarantined for 14 days and SAMSPA will immediately begin working with AHS on an action plan which may include any number of eventualities including:

-  Team being shut down for two weeks

-  All teams in trace back being shut down for two weeks

-  League being shut down for two weeks

-  Players may be asked to get tested

In the end, AHS will determine the steps taken to prevent further spread. SASMSPA will work collaboratively with them to ensure safety of our members and spectators.

What else?

-  Dugouts will be limited to a few players only

-  Spots will be marked on fence lines for players to sit/stand that are at least 2M apart

-  Dugouts will be equipped with sanitized and cleaner sprays for spraying down dugouts and fence lines after games

-  Players will be asked to bring their own water bottles, bug sprays, hand sanitizer, etc.

-  Each team will use their own balls when defending

-  On deck batter will retrieve bats by the barrel only – opposing team or umpire will not touch bats

As mentioned already, please let us know your thoughts on these proposed changes to the game.

Regards,

Joel McGovern,
President, SAMSPA

 

 

 

 New Opportunity, for the first time ever,

SAMSPA is selling Diamond Naming Rights! Pick your companies diamond today!

 

SAMSPA is now accepting applications for New Teams for 2021
in the 60 and 70 Plus divisions.

Enter under online forms at the top of this page.

 

"Rule Exception - Use of Helmets
 
Use of helmets for 2020 will not be mandatory however, SAMSPA very strongly recommends that all players wear an approved (Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE)) batting helmet with two ear flaps while batting, base running and in the on-deck circle."

 

- Did you know that you can e-transfer league fee? Email e-transfer to treasurer@samspaslowpitch.com .

- Check out the new "Money in your Mitt Incentive" under the Teams tab!

SAMSPA is currently recruiting 2 Board positions for the 2020 season:

  • Treasurer
  • Marketing/Sales/Advertising

Click here to learn more about these positions

 

- There is currently no teams looking for players. Check it out HERE.

- There is currently 23 players looking for a team. The information can be found under PLAYERS LOOKING FOR A TEAM.

- SAMSPA now has a Teams Looking for Players page:

- Teams: Fill out the Form with your requirements and they will be posted to this page.

- New / Interested Players: Check out this page and contact Teams directly if you are interested in their team.

 


 

 
 
SAMSPA - St. Albert Mens Slowpitch Association
Meadowview Ball Park | 1 Meadowview Dr.
St. Albert, Alberta | T8N 2R9
(780) 460-7234
 

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