USPBL delayed until at least May 29; first responders getting free tickets

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

The four-team United Shore Professional Baseball League will be delayed by at least three weeks and potentially longer in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The independent baseball league, based out of Utica, was set to launch its fifth season May 8, and the new target date is May 29.

Andy Appleby is owner and CEO of the United Shore Professional Baseball League.

That target date is fluid, the league announced this week.

"With the flexible structure of our league, we still expect to be able to play a full season at Jimmy John’s Field this summer, and we will release a revised 2020 game schedule as soon as possible," the league posted on its website. 

"We will always put the health and well-being of our fans, players, umpires and employees first, and we will follow all guidelines and directives of federal, state and local agencies."

The USPBL said that when the league does get up and running, it will have additional safety measures available at the ballpark, including hand-sanitizing stations throughout the stadium. There also will be additional cleanings and power-washings before games.

The league announced that when it does begin its 2020 season, it will offer four free tickets to all first responders, and offer discounts to those whose birthdays took place during the state's shelter-in-place order.

"In the meantime, we ask everyone to follow the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as other federal and state public health officials, so that we can get through this outbreak as quickly as possible," the USPBL said in its statement.

"We look forward to seeing you again soon for USPBL baseball games at Jimmy John’s Field, and we will be open again as quickly as it is safe to do so, and in accordance with the direction being provided by federal and state public health officials.

"From all of your friends at the USPBL — Stay Safe & Stay Healthy!"

The USPBL launched in 2016 with three teams playing a 75-game schedule, and has since expanded to four teams. Players are typically in their early 20s and either just out of college, or trying to revive their professional careers.

The league has become a hit among families, for its cost-conscious structure for tickets and concessions, as well as its theme nights.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984