By Ray Hamill — Dear Humboldt Crabs, please, please, please find a way to play this year, because Humboldt County needs you now more than ever.
The board of the iconic North Coast baseball club will hold a meeting on Wednesday night, with a decision expected on the upcoming season, which is scheduled to begin in just over two weeks.
That start date would appear unlikely, and hosting any sort of a season will be one of the greatest challenges the Crabs have ever faced in their almost eight decades of competing.
I can only begin to imagine the logistical nightmares involved in trying to salvage the season, not to mention the laws that need to be obeyed, and the health and safety of the players, fans, coaches, officials and extended Crabs family.
And then there’s the not-so-little fact that there might not even be any other teams to actually play.
But even a shortened campaign, perhaps in July, would mean so much to the local sports community right now, and to the psyche and well being of the entire county.
It might seem trivial to be talking about sports in the midst of this global pandemic, but the reality is that sports have never been more important than they are right now.
We need to be safe, but we also need to begin to feel some sense of normal in our lives to ease the panic and fear that has gripped the nation, and indeed the world.
And, ironic and all as it might seem, nothing puts many of us at ease more than sports.
We need a return to Little League, a return to American Legion, community softball and every sport that plays such an important role in the fabric of our summers, and our lives.
On Tuesday, the California Collegiate Athletic Association canceled all fall sports, a decision that seems a little premature coming barely more than a week into the month of May, and a decision that merely serves to heighten the aforementioned fear and panic instead of helping to relieve it.
If there is not a safe way to hold competition in the fall, then by all means cancel the seasons, but do you really have to make that decision this early?
Do you really have to add to all the uncertainty and unease we’re all feeling right now?
The Crabs are the longest continuous summer collegiate baseball team in the nation, competing every single summer since World War II, so there’s more than just some sports entertainment on the line.
There’s a proud — a very proud — tradition at stake.
So to the board members facing such a difficult decision this week, please, please, please find a way, if at all possible, to give us some sort of a season, even if it’s just streaming a handful of games live in front of no fans, or limiting fans to the bare minimum.
Maybe you can even follow the lead of the Redwood Acres Raceway and consider setting up a temporary giant screen in a parking lot somewhere for fans to watch from the social distancing comfort of their own cars.
It won’t be easy, but it’s important to remember just how much a part of the local summer landscape the Humboldt Crabs are.
And that’s why we need them more than ever this year.