Grand Forks won’t be hearing the crack of baseball bats or staring into the floodlights of James Donaldson Park this June, after all.
The Grand Forks International organizing committee announced April 22 that they’ve had to cancel the 2020 tournament as a precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The event was scheduled to run from June 29 to July 5.
“It is with heavy hearts that the GFI tournament committee has determined that we will be unable to proceed with the 2020 Grand Forks International Baseball Tournament due to the COVID 19 situation,” tournament chairman Steve Boutang announced on Facebook.
One after another, tournaments and festivals across the province have either announced postponements or cancellations after seeing the enduring threat of the virus that has spread around the globe.
““Realistically, we will not be having those big events where people gather together this summer,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a press conference on April 18. “This is a challenging time around our world and it’s not going to be easy for us to get out of it, but those those types of large, mass-gatherings where we have lots of people together, this is not the time for that.”
In his statement, Boutang said that the organizing committee considered hosting the international tournament later in the summer – even returning to the Labour Day Weekend like previous iterations of the competition – but they ultimately deemed that such a change wouldn’t work this year. In an email, Boutang said that pushing the tournament to September could mean fewer sponsors, fewer volunteers and difficulty drawing teams.
People who had already purchased tickets for the 2020 tournament can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-442-8323 for refund information.
The tournament is a significant economic boon for the city of roughly 4,000 as it attracts large crowds from all over North America.
The last time the GFI was cancelled was in 2018 when flooding inundated Grand Forks and the surrounding area, devastating residents, businesses, homes, and public institutions.
With files from Ashley Wadhwani and Jim Bailey