For the second year in a row, the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic have caused the cancellation of the Junior League Baseball World Series in Taylor.
Little League International President Stephen Keener announced Monday (May 3) that play in Little League’s Junior Division (for 13- and 14-year-old players from around the world) will end at the state-tournament level in the United States. No Junior League regional tournaments will be held. No Junior League World Series will be held in August at Taylor’s Heritage Park.
Of the seven World Series in the Little League International organization, only the Little League Baseball World Series (in Williamsport, Pennsylvania) and the Little League Softball World Series (for the first time in Greenville, North Carolina) will be played in 2021. And due to travel and other restrictions, those two World Series will include only domestic teams. No international teams will play in either series.
Little League is for 12-year-old players and is the oldest and most famous league of all the levels of the international organization. Little League is considered the younger brother of the Junior League. Taylor has hosted the JLWS since its inception in 1980. The 2020 World Series would have been the 40th. Now, the 40th will be delayed again.
Keener said the decisions for 2021 by the Little League International Board of Directors were based on the recommendation of the 2021 Little League International Pandemic Response Advisory Commission. He said the plans incorporate a series of COVID-19 mitigation measures in order to host the Little League regional tournaments and World Series in a healthy, responsible environment.
The commission noted that fully implementing the many facets of the COVID-19 mitigation plans at the volunteer-run regional and World Series tournaments – including the Junior League World Series – cause significant additional responsibilities. Thus, the commission recommended that “out of the utmost respect to our volunteer organizations,” the tournament at these divisions conclude at the state level.
“I love that Little League puts the health, wellbeing and safety of all players and volunteers first,” said Junior League World Series founder and Director Greg Bzura of Taylor. “While we are extremely disappointed to postpone our 40th tournament for the second year in a row, it’s a decision that was made with everyone’s best interest in mind.”
For more information about the decisions of Little League International, visit the website www.littleleague.org.