For the first time in its 73-year history, the Little League World Series is canceled due to the concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. SI's Matt Martell breaks down the key factors that led to this decision and why the health risks of international play made the cancellation inevitable.
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Robin Lundberg: The Little League World Series has been canceled for the first time in its history. For more, I'm joined by our Matt Martel. Matt. Was this a case of something that was just inevitable? But of course, it's still a bummer considering how many people enjoy the Little League World Series.
Matt Martell: Yeah, it was inevitable. Getting kids back on the field was Little League's top priority when it was safe to do so. But for the World Series, which is, you know, the last step in all of this, it became inevitable due to the international nature of the tournament teams from all over the country competing to get into it as well. And once the season started, the regular seasons that are the beginning of the Little League World Series, once they got delayed, it became, you know, almost impossible for them to to host a tournament in Williamsport due to all the travel under those time constraints that they had.
Robin Lundberg: Yeah. And it's one thing for the major sports leagues, right. With highly paid professionals to try and get going again. But in this case, you're dealing with children, right?
Matt Martell: You're dealing with children. You're dealing with children from all over the world and you're bringing them all in to Williamsport, Pennsylvania. When you get to the end of this, a town of thirty thousand people during a normal year, they bring in, you know, to the World Series to over that 10 day event. About three hundred thousand people, you know, flock to Williamsport. So just the nature of what the event is during a pandemic was also not feasible, especially when you're talking about amateur, you know, athletes and volunteer workers, umpires, things like that, coaches. So it just became impossible for them to do it.
Robin Lundberg: You know, hopefully everybody can get out there, get some fresh air and sunlight, but avoid the gathering's for now. And the World Series can resume again next year. Matt, appreciate your time, as always.
Matt Martell: Thank you.
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