Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect new developments.
KALAMAZOO — Baseball has been allowed to resume in Southwest Michigan after a brief disruption this week.
The Kalamazoo Growlers, which also operates a second team called the Kalamazoo Mac Daddies, announced that its Wednesday night game was postponed after a morning visit from the Kalamazoo County Health Department and Sheriff’s office.
The local agencies had notified the Growlers/Mac Daddies that Executive Order 2020-133, which involves restarting professional sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, did not apply to them and that play was not allowed to resume. Both teams play in the Northwoods League, which features college players. Due to the fact the players are unpaid, they are not considered professionals. The executive order does permit professionals to play baseball if 6-foot distancing is maintained to the extent compatible with the sporting activity.
However, after “extensive communication” between the teams’ legal counsel — Willis Law — and local and state authorities, play will resume Thursday night after the brief interruption.
“We are committed to providing a safe venue for players, fans and staff as well as supporting the livelihood of our 80-100 staff members with our teams. I can’t thank our local officials and Willis Law enough for getting this back on track,” Growlers Vice President Brian Colopy said in a statement.
In a lengthy post to its website and social media channels, the Growlers/Mac Daddies detailed their thorough safety precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19 including health screenings for all players, coaches, umpires and staff. The organization was also only allowing 100 fans per game in a stadium that seats 4,000.