Post 24’s Carpenter disappointed as American Legion doubles down on cancellation stance

Chris Harris, DLJ Sports
In this June 25, 2019 file photo, Tim Ronning Post 24 head coach Tanner Carpenter (in red) speaks with the team in between innings in Devils Lake.

Back in March, the North Dakota American Legion suspended the 2020 season. Last week after a second meeting, the Executive Committee re-affirmed its to decision to keep the Legion baseball season canceled in an unanimous vote.

In a statement released by the state’s American Legion, the department commander Kenneth Wiederholt is quoted as saying, “We would love more than anything to be to continue our decades-long tradition of Legion Baseball. We not only enjoy the games and camaraderie but being able to watch these talented players advance to collage teams and further. We absolutely cannot, however, put our love for this program and all it stands for before the significant risks posed by COVID-19.”

Tanner Carpenter, head coach of Devils Lake’s Tim Ronning Post 24 Storm, said that despite understanding the decision, he’s perturbed all the same.

“Honestly I was disappointed to hear it. I understand that they’re making a safety decision, I get that. But from my view, I wish that they would have waited. … I understand 100 percent why they done it but I haven’t talked to enough people yet to really go beyond that.

“Disappointed to me,” Carpenter continued, “but hopefully, based on what happens we’ll be able to play some baseball games.”

On Tuesday, Governor Doug Burgum unveiled Phase 1 of the ‘ND Smart Restart,’ outlining protocols for the re-opening of businesses, such as restaurant, bars and personal service businesses such as those in cosmetology, on Friday. This could be the beginning of an opening for summer baseball and Carpenter said that he’s ready.

“We started scheduling games close to Christmas. We basically have close to a full schedule at the moment so that is completed. But do I think they will go back on their word? I don’t because it’s the second time they done it,” said Carpenter. “I don’t know what their timelines were but I wish it was closer to the middle of May, especially with all of the stuff reopening.”

However, what wasn’t part of the initial restart were venues such athletic centers — the exact places were games are held. Asked if he would be willing to play the games in front of empty bleachers, Carpenter was in favor of it — sort of.

“Myself, looking at it I want to say yes and I also want to say no. I understand that when you’re out there with 50 people in the stands watching, it’s cool but at the same time, it’s not about who’s watching,” Carpenter said. “Also, If you’re a parent, and it’s your kid’s last year, how do you rob a parent from watching their child play?

“I would be disappointed if the fans were able to show up but at the same time, it’s the kids out there competing, getting better and that’s one of the things I also think is important.”

As of now, Legion Field remains just a field of dreams crushed by COVID-19 with hopes of the ping of the aluminum bats echoing sooner than later.

Chris Harris can be reached at