SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J. -- The coronavirus that has and continues to spread across the globe has shut down just about everything in the United States, including professional sports.
Youth sports have also been affected as schools are closed, leagues are put on hold, and people are ordered to stay inside unless absolutely necessary. There is no end in sight.
And unfortunately, for the 2020 South Plainfield 12U Tigers baseball team, even though it is still months away, its August Cooperstown, N.Y. trip was canceled two weeks ago due to COVID-19.
The Tigers had made it up to play at the National Baseball Hall of Fame six years in a row.
Positive cases of the virus are being recorded and released every single day. There are over 50 residents of South Plainfield who have tested positive and over 1,400 residents have contracted it in Middlesex County as of Thursday.
Recently, the South Plainfield 12U baseball team all made signs, took photos, and came together (from their respective homes) to form a sentence and strong message that reads, “Stay home, so we can get on the field and play ball”.
One of the main ways to flatten the curve and keep the spread down according to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is to stay indoors. The more people do that and the faster, quicker the virus’ spread lessons.
“These twelve young men, understandably upset, took it upon themselves to hopefully bring some hope to the residents of South Plainfield and fans alike. The four-time defending Northern New Jersey State championship team, and 2019 Regional runner-up, wanted to show that they matter off the field, just as much as when on the field, again defining the true definition of team,” Tigers head coach Jay Culver said. “These are great kids who were trying to do their part and bring some light into what is going on and affecting people in different ways.”
The bright kids, who are stuck at home, understand what is going on in the world. Sports has a way of bringing people together, and the sooner everyone does their part, the sooner the Tigers and life can return back to normal.
“This message is meant to be lighthearted. These boys are not trying to downplay what is going on in the world at this moment, but meant to bring attention to the everyday activities, whatever they may be, that we now realize we take for granted. The team understands that baseball is inconsequential with regard to what is going on in South Plainfield, the State of N.J., the United States of America, and the world, and how it has affected every member of society differently.
“This virus is hitting closer to home for all of us every day. The team’s hope is that we all come together in this uncertain time so that life can return to some form of normal in the near future. The 12U Tigers remind everyone to be safe, practice social distancing, and stay home if possible. With any luck the Tigers will return to the field in the very near future.”
2020 12U Tigers - Cooperstown team
Ryan Balent, William Bethea, Eddie Budzinski, Justin Culver, Nick Irizarry, AJ Kaplan, Daniel Kapsch, Dom Massaro, Dylan Oller, Alex Pigna, Braden Tankiewicz, and Anthony Tomei
Coaches: Jay Culver, Dan Kapsch, Bill Bethea, Eddie Budzinksi, and Aldo Pigna
Follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisWasky.