“It’s just a really awkward year. People are doing everything they can to survive. Even if it means our ownership taking a little bit of a hit, I know that we have the backing of the community, the backing of baseball and the backing of the people that mean so much to us so that we can continue to exist moving forward.”
The Wilson Tobs have suspended their 2020 Coastal Plain League schedule after an undisclosed number of team members tested positive for COVID-19.
The announcement was made Wednesday, leading to the cancellation of Thursday’s scheduled doubleheader against the High Point-Thomasville HiToms at Fleming Stadium.
Following the identification of organizational members experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and the subsequent positive tests of a few players, Tobs management decided that pause in the schedule was necessary to ensure the safety of all players, coaches, staff members, host families and the limited number fans allowed into the stadium for home games.
“The Tobs organization has always been committed to providing our student-athletes a safe and competitive athletic environment,” Tobs President Greg Suire said in a statement. “Given the series of symptoms and positive tests recently, our resolve remains to ensure a safe culture and thus such a pause is necessary.”
Following the positive test results, the protocol established by the Wilson Tobs and CPL has been enacted to ensure the safety of all Wilson Tobs organizational and community members. With the college summer wood bat season only running through Saturday, Aug. 8, it is not yet known if the team will play any more games this year.
The Tobs are one of only two North Carolina-based CPL teams that decided to play this season in light of the coronavirus crisis. The HiToms are the other.
Asked earlier this month by the North State Journal why the team was going ahead with the season while others — including the Asheboro Copperheads, Forest City Owls, Gastonia Grizzlies, Holly Springs Salamanders, Morehead City Marlins and Wilmington Sharks — decided to opt out because of the ongoing pandemic, Tobs general manager Mike Bell said it was to give players the opportunity to play.
The CPL is made up of college players looking to get extra playing time and exposure to professional scouts once their school seasons are over.
“We’re committed to these boys that are wanting to play baseball,” Bell said. “We didn’t want to tell them at the last minute, ‘Sorry, you can’t play.’