Youth Baseball teams across the country are scrambling this morning after learning that they will be required to receive the coronavirus vaccine to participate in the national tournament.
The tournament, The Baseball Hall of Fame Invitational Tournament at Cooperstown, New York, outlined their coronavirus plans in their 2021 Opening Plan:
All participants, coaches and campers 12 years and older must be immunized. Immunization requirements: COVID-19 (campers under 12 years of age are exempt, but must provide a negative test upon arrival), diphtheria, haemophilus influenza type b, hepatitis b, measles, mumps, rubella, poliomyelitis, tetanus and varicella a/k/a chickenpox. Cooperstown Dreams Park is hopeful that the vaccines will be available a minimum of twenty-one days prior to any registration date. Cooperstown Dreams Park will, if necessary modify registration date by registration date until a vaccine is available for 12 year olds and older.
However, given the youth of the majority of participants, not everyone is eligible to receive the vaccine yet.
As a result, some teams, such as coach Eddie Dickmyer’s Central Florida team, will not be able to attend.
According to WOFL in Orlando via WJW:
…one team in Central Florida was planning to attend, but received a note from tournament officials announcing the requirement.
Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is approved for those 16 and older. But those under 16 aren’t eligible yet for any of the available vaccines.
Head coach Eddie Dickmyer called the Florida Health Department to double check that those under 16 can’t get the vaccines. The department said they can’t.
Dickmyer’s squad was fortunate enough to find another tournament in Kentucky. Still, that doesn’t completely take away the sting of not being able to play in Cooperstown.
“It’s like a magial place,” Dickmyer explained. “The tournaments are great every year, the people who own the facility run it great. Their faces just…dropped. I mean, like I said, for a 12-year-old, this is the ultimate tournament.”
**CORRECTION** A previous version of this article identified the teams unable to attend the Cooperstown Tournament as “Little League” teams. The teams involved in this incident were not Little League teams and Little League is not affiliated with the Cooperstown Tournament.