MERIDEN — The formal unveiling of Meriden Little League will have to wait at least a few more weeks
The coronavirus has stalled the start of the season. All Little League baseball activities have been suspended until May 11 nationwide.
And, so, an unprecedented opening day in the Silver City is on hold.
Jack Barry and Ed Walsh merged last fall. It was a union driven by decreasing numbers.
In combining into one, Meriden Little League expects to field 22 teams and more than 200 players.
Despite the delayed start, Meriden Little League president Mike Duffy is excited about the merger and the position in which it puts Meriden youth baseball for the future.
“It took about a year to make it happen,” Duffy said Friday. “When you look at the map, other Little Leagues had larger numbers. Jack Barry and Ed Walsh have been losing players over the years, although Ed Walsh has gained a some the last few years. But we wanted to merge so the change wasn’t forced. If we waited longer, it would have been forced.
“Most people think the merger is great,” Duffy added. “We have one Meriden Little League just like other towns. We had kids at the same middle schools, but playing in different leagues for Little League. It’s a no-brainer to have them together in Meriden.”
To keep things fair, the league’s board members have equal representation.
“It’s Meriden Little League and there’s no loyalty to either side,” Duffy said. “We tried to be as even as possible and everyone has come together. It’s a new name and a new place for baseball in Meriden.”
The Meriden Little League board meets once a month and the five-person executive board gathers twice a month.
Duffy said the league is going to follow whatever Little League advises as far as when the teams can take the field.
“We were going to be proactive either way,” Duffy said. “We were going to follow the lead of the health experts and, in the midst of having those conversations, Little League asked us to cease activities from March 13 to May 11, and we are doing so. The health and safety of our players, parents, coaches and spectators is very important to this league.”
The Jack Barry and Ed Walsh facilities will both host games and Duffy expects both to be busy when the action finally begins.
The season typically starts in April. If action starts on May 11, the season will be a month behind. Hopes are to get at least 12 of the usual 20 regular-season games played.
“We are anxious to get the season going,” Duffy said. “Every single person on the board loves baseball. We have more than 200 kids that can’t wait to play. We are waiting and waiting to get this thing going.”
With Jack Barry and Ed Walsh merging, there are now two youth baseball organizations in Meriden. South Meriden Baseball is under the umbrella of Cal Ripken Baseball.
South Meriden was scheduled to open the 2020 season on April 18. League president Dave Stimpson said Friday the current targeted date is April 30.
South Meriden has 19 teams and around 200 players, which is on par with a typical year for the league.
“We are playing it by ear right now," Stimpson said. “Everything is at a halt right now.”