A silent June: CWS cancellation leaves baseball players stunned

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Ana Bellinghausen
CONTRIBUTOR 

Baseball players warming up before the College World Series, a sight that will not be seen this year. Photo courtesy of Jodeane Brownlee.

This will be a series of reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on different sports across the nation. 

With every Twitter refresh, millions of Americans were met with new cancellations in the sports world due to the international outbreak of COVID-19. 

At 8:21 a.m. on March 10, the floodgates of sports postponements and cancellations opened as soon as the Ivy League announced its cancellation of their men’s and women’s conference basketball tournament. 

What seemed like an outlandish thought soon became a reality in the ensuing days. The NBA, MLB, XFL, MLS, NHL and more eliminated or delayed their seasons leaving fans, athletes and coaches stunned. 

The NCAA followed suit with the nix of all winter and spring championships including March Madness and the College World Series. 

The reality is just setting in for athletes as their seasons are cut short, leaving no opportunity for championship title runs. As college and professional athletes wrap their minds around what is occurring, here are a series of reactions to this historic time. 

For the first time since 1947, college baseball will not crown a champion.

TD Ameritrade Park will remain dormant this June, following the cancellation of the College World Series. The magical two-week period in Omaha, Nebraska, will become just another hot and sunny 14 days in the Midwest.

What would be a roaring crowd of 20,000 fans, cotton candy and some baseball will not occur in 2020 due to the pandemic of COVID-19. All across the country, college baseball players feel the void already.

The reigning champions, the Vanderbilt Commodores, will not get a chance at a repeat CWS run. Harrison Ray, a senior infielder for the Dores, aches after his final season ended abruptly, he said.

“This was a real punch to the stomach for me,” Ray said. “For me, it wasn’t the chance at winning another championship, even though that’d be unbelievable. It was spending two to three more months with these younger guys on the team.”

No championship trophy will be hoisted in Omaha this year, and that is unsettling for Ray and his team.

“Knowing that there will be no Omaha is a tough pill to swallow,” Ray said. “Going for my first time last year and that entire experience is something I’ll never forget.”

The Michigan Wolverines won’t get a chance at sweet revenge after ending their 2019 Cinderella season with a runner-up trophy. The Wolverines fell short to the Commodores in game three of the championship final.

“I put so much work in to get back to that point and eventually winning it all this time,” said Christan Bullock, Michigan’s senior outfielder. “Now, knowing there will be no baseball at all is just so confusing and is probably the last thing I thought would happen.”

As for the Omaha Mavericks’ baseball program, the team was just looking to secure their second conference championship and NCAA tournament berth in school history. The Mavericks were on a six-game win streak before the headlines surfaced.

“When the news first broke about the season being done, I was speechless,” said Brett Bonar, a senior catcher for the Mavs. “I read the article and understood why, but at the time I could not comprehend that we would not be playing any more games this year.”

The defending Summit League champions will have to wait another season to see the diamond once again.

“The other seniors and I were very upset because we knew what we had worked for this year and how we were going to accomplish our goals,” Bonar said.

Different cities, mascots and team colors separate college baseball players, but one goal remains identical: Omaha’s CWS, a goal that will not be met by any team in 2020.

“I wish every player could experience [the CWS],” Ray said. “To know that there are guys out there that will never experience that event, I feel for them.”

Omaha will become eerily quiet this June, as the city mourns the loss of its beloved two weeks of pure baseball bliss.

“The College World Series is an event that every single baseball player works toward,” Bonar said. “Everyone watches no matter the result of your season, and it will be very weird knowing there will be no champion crowned this year.”

Check back for the next edition of COVID-19 sports reactions.

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