Southaven’s Snowden Grove Park issues Return-to-Play guidelines

WATCH: Southaven's Snowden Grove Park issues Return-to-Play guidelines

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — Snowden Grove Park in Southaven is home to the Dizzy Dean World Series which normally brings millions of dollars to the city. But this year the series is canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

The park will reopen this week to baseball and baseball tournaments. The first tournament is scheduled for this weekend.

Some who own businesses that border Snowden Grove Park said they are just glad to get the business they will get.

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Dudley Stone runs the Strike Zone Bowling Alley right next door to Snowden Groves Baseball Complex.

“Been waiting on it a long time,” he said. “It's a long time coming. Hopefully it will help our business. I mean it is time for folks to get out and start enjoying the sunshine.”

Feondrea Bell of Southaven tells me she walks the park almost every day and she loves to watch the games when they are going on. She is glad baseball is coming back.

“I think it's great,” said Bell. “It's amazing we kind of need something to make us feel like we are home again right. And I feel like that is a start.

Some people said they feel for the kids who won't get the chance to play in the Dizzy Dean World Series.

“It hurts the kid who dreams of playing in that. They may not get that chance again,” Bell said.

As for the business end of things, some said Southaven will make the best of it.

“In this case, I believe you are going to have to take what you can get and be grateful because a lot of people are hesitant to get out. Be grateful until we are in a better place.”

Dizzy Dean leaders said the tournament plans to return to Southaven in 2021 and that this year there may be state tournaments if there is time before the school year starts.

Southaven’s Snowden Grove Park has outlined guidelines for when sports teams resume play.

The protocols are temporary, according to the Park’s website.

Snowden Grove Park will reopen for tournament play beginning this Friday, according to the website.

PLAYER, COACHES AND TEAM HYGIENE RECOMMENDATIONS

Minimize player and coaches contact by eliminating team/player handshakes and team/player high fives.

Recommend new end of game celebrations and team sportsmanship at the end of games (e.g., ask players to tip their caps/visors, or have teams bow to each other from across the field).

Parents should supply their players with antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer for disinfecting shared playing equipment and cleaning hands between innings/quarters/periods.

Players are allowed to wear PPE items, if they choose, as long as the items do not compromise the safety of any and all participants in the game.

Teams are required to clean their dugout of all trash and other items after each game, and to wipe down (clean) hard surfaces such as benches, bat racks, etc. Upon arriving at a dugout for the first time, teams are to disinfect hard surface areas (benches, bat racks, etc.). This will comply with the CDC recommendation of a two-step process for cleaning and disinfecting.

Sunflower seeds and other items that require spitting shall be prohibited.

ON / OFF FIELD SOCIAL DISTANCING

Social distancing (Gate lines, concession lines, spectating games, etc.) must be maintained as much as possible.

No group prayers between teams on the field. Maintain social distancing between teams in effect beyond the field of play.

Spectators need to plan ahead and bring their own seating and maintain “social distancing” of 6 feet between families behind the backstop and up and down the fence line from the dugout to the foul pole. If using a tent, please restrict the tent to family members only and space such tents a minimum of 6 feet apart

Teams must monitor and spread players out in the dugouts; expand the dugout area, i.e., only allow the next five batters up in the dugout and the remaining players wait outside dugout area, outside the field of play. Limit bench personnel to essential team personnel only.

PARENTAL CHOICE

Once we have been cleared to play, we will do all we can as a ballpark to provide a safe environment for our spectators and players.

However, we are unable (just as our society) to completely safeguard each and every aspect of this situation. For us and our teams to succeed we MUST have the cooperation and help of each participating team.

We understand this is a serious illness. With this said, we request those with a chronic disease or those who are immune-compromised, please stay home and not attend our events at least until your doctor tells you you’re safe.

Ultimately, the decision to participate or not participate is solely in the hands of each parent, and each must decide for themselves what is in the best interest of their family.