Iowa High School Athletic Association Seeks New Venue for State Baseball Tournament | High school


SIOUX CITY – Tom Keating and the rest of the Iowa High School Athletic Association are on a reconnaissance mission this week.

Earlier this week, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported that the Iowa High School Baseball Tournament will not be held in Des Moines this year, due to the Iowa Cubs schedule that was built by Major League Baseball.

The tournament is scheduled for July 23-31.

The I-Cubs are on the road 23-26, but are heading home for a six-game home series against the Louisville Bats.

Major League Baseball took more control over its minor league system, and timetables were not set by the Pacific Coast League, the now-defunct league in which Chicago Cubs affiliate Triple-A played. .

Keating said I-Cubs general manager Sam Bernabe was very candid with the IHSAA about what the schedule would look like, since MLB was now in control.

There was talk that the state tournament could be increased by a week, but Keating recalled how last season was cut short due to the COVID-19 breakout and didn’t want to cut it short. season 2021.

“There would be conference games and conference tournaments that would be canceled because of this,” Keating said Friday in a telephone interview. “We just didn’t think we could do this at our schools. I understand (for) the 32 teams that say, Principal Park is just a fabulous facility, but we have 300 other schools that play baseball, and to shorten their seasons, we just didn’t feel right doing it.

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So the IHSAA was looking for a new place to play the baseball tournament.

The IHSAA Board of Directors meets on April 21 and that is when it will seek approval of the selected site.

“We have to make decisions,” Keating said. “We need to educate our schools, and we need to educate our workforce, and we need to educate the host so that he can gather more workers as well.”

He always wants it to be a special event. Keating is looking for places over 1,000 fans can come, somewhere that isn’t too far for a team to travel and, quite simply, a nice facility.

Fans on Twitter have suggested playing at Merchants Park in Carroll, Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids, Duane Banks Park in Iowa City, and a few small middle and high school parks across the state.

Fans have also suggested the new stadium at Field of Dreams in Dyersville, where the Yankees and White Sox will play in August. Major League Baseball politely told the IHSAA, no.

“We even looked at the field of dreams and as politely as they could they said not to even think about stepping onto that field until the Yankees and White Sox had played their game,” Keating said. .

Keating has also heard from the Cedar Rapids Kernels (who play at Vets) and the Iowa Hawkeyes (Banks Park), and these facilities are not an option for the IHSAA.

The Quad-Cities River Bandits, who play at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, are also home during State Baseball Week.

So all three of the current minor league baseball facilities are out of play for the tournament this season.

Keating also considered using community land and semi-professional facilities across the state.

“We know where the stadiums are,” Keating said. “And so we reached out, and we’re still in the middle. We are looking at the areas of high schools, we have looked at some areas of small colleges. Twitter is full of suggestions for us, you know? So we enjoy that, but whatever people throw out there, we probably have it in our mix as well. “

Keating said there was no time to be disappointed. He just needs to move on and find the next best option.

“If you worry about disappointment, you’ll be disappointed most of your life, you know,” Keating said. “We encounter many obstacles and many obstacles that we have to overcome. “

Spring is fast approaching

The state track and field meet is scheduled for May 20-22 at Drake Stadium, but those dates could be hit and miss if spectator limitations are severe.

Keating and the state expect to have guidance throughout next week from Drake Stadium managers in terms of how many people can attend a session.

“I wouldn’t call anything a major overhaul, but I think we should try to maximize the opportunity,” Keating said. “Sometimes I think people feel like we want a lot of fans there, so we sell a lot of tickets and the reality is we want people to see their kids.

“And when you have all four classes at the same time, you split the tickets,” Keating added. “So if there are significant capacity limitations, we might consider a slightly different timeline. We are not there yet.

As for the Boys State Soccer Tournament, dates are still scheduled for June 1, 3 and 5 at the James. W Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines.

Keating said similar protocols would be in place for fans as they were in the winter. For example, if a zone team is not the first match in a given session, their fans will not be allowed in until the crowd from the previous match clears the zone.

Keating believes the state’s golf and tennis tournaments will have no fan limitations.

A look back at the winter seasons

Keating appreciated the work the staff – and more importantly, the fans – did to ensure that the state wrestling and boys’ basketball tournaments were as safe as possible.

Keating admitted that there had to be several plans in place and that considerable work had been done to ensure tournaments could take place at Wells Fargo Arena.

“We were fortunate that Polk County allowed Wells Fargo Arena to have the number of fans we are allowed to have,” Keating said. “Our administrators, our coaches, our officials, our athletes have kind of proven to us in the summer and fall that they can do it. I think the protocols we really insisted on were masks and social distancing. So the pod seat and the masking was a part of what was going to have to happen if we could do it. “

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