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‘Something that can’t be replaced’: Prince George baseball trainers put young players’ safety first before development

COVID-19 pandemic set up to strike out hard work of local products

Spring and summer sports are either being cancelled or postponed around the world as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

For Prince George, baseball season is beloved by many local athletes from the minor association to the senior league, and have been developing their skills this past winter in getting prepped for 2020.

Northern Baseball Training (NBT) focuses on providing the tools players need to stay sharp at the plate and on the field while the snow falls in the city, but, like many other small businesses, it was forced to close earlier this month until further notice.

In response to a questionnaire from PrinceGeorgeMatters, the NBT team, run by Doug Clark, Chris Clark and Brandon Hunter, says the health and safety of students and their families is a priority, which led to the decision to shut down completely on March 17.

“From a business standpoint, this will hurt us but [we’re] confident that we will bounce back as a company,” NBT explained.

“We have had amazing support from the baseball community and the love for baseball isn’t going anywhere.”

On March 12, Major League Baseball delayed its opening day festivities to mid-May at the earliest due to the possible spread of COVID-19.

Five days later, the same day NBT closed up shop, Baseball BC announced its suspension across the province, including Prince George’s local association, of any ‘in-person baseball activity’ indefinitely.

This means games, practices and tournaments students were training for will have to wait, which NBT admits brings a damper on all that’s happened the past several months.

“But the time that these kids will lose is something that can’t be replaced. We’ve been training over 30 kids this off-season who have been working hard, preparing for the next season and knowing that there is a chance that they may not get to see all their hard work pay off is going to be tough. Especially for the seniors who may miss out on their final season of minor baseball.”

As of today (March 31), there are 15 positive cases of COVID-19 in the Northern Health region, including five confirmed recoveries and no deaths.

While more testing is being conducted and residents are self-isolating themselves, NBT says its greatest fear is the virus taking loved ones away from families.

“If your wife, kids, parents, grandparents get sick and end up in the hospital, there’s no visiting them,” they said.

“It’s a scary thought knowing they will have to be alone and that’s why we as a society need to take this situation very seriously. [...] We have closed our doors and will not open them until it is safe to do so. We are taking social distancing seriously and self-isolating as much as possible.”

NBT encourages the public to stay home as well and wash your hands as often as you can.

If you go out for groceries, NBT also warns the public to watch for dirty surfaces.