The Madison Broncos amateur baseball team will be playing games this season with several new guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new rules set by the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Association are as follows:
-- Players may stand outside the dugout during the game.
-- Umpires may call balls and strikes from behind the plate or behind the mound, whichever they find more comfortable.
-- Players are to wear batting gloves.
-- Players should refrain from sharing equipment.
-- Social distancing is to be enforced.
-- Mound visits will be six feet between manager and players.
-- Masks to be used when practical, including for fans.
-- Hand sanitizer will be available in the dugouts.
-- No shaking hands after games. No physical contact. Cap tips only.
-- Public address announcers at the games will be announcing these safety guidelines.
"I was a little bit surprised that we will be playing," said Madison Broncos manager Matt Burpee. "However, I knew that Dale Weber (president of SDABA) said he wanted to make sure there was a season."
The start of the Cornbelt season will be May 31, and the first home game for the Broncos will be June 7.
With an abbreviated season for the Cornbelt League, there will be two divisions this season. Madison will be in the same division with Colman, Flandreau, Lennox Only One and Dell Rapids PBR. The other division will have Canova, Humboldt-Hartford Gamecocks, Humboldt-Hartford Wood Ducks, Dell Rapids Mudcats and Salem.
"Each team will play two games against opponents in their division and one game against a team in the other division," Burpee said.
Games will be played on Thursdays and Sundays just like in past seasons.
During the month of June, umpires will be calling balls and strikes from behind the mound. After that, they will be able to go where they are most comfortable.
Burpee said that he and the Broncos want everyone to stay healthy and safe.
"There is lot of room at Flynn Field to sit in lawn chairs and stay six feet apart from people," he said. "Everyone has to follow the rules that have been set up. And people need to stay home if they are not feeling good."