In 2019 we celebrated our (AAABA) 75th Anniversary. We were looking to make it 76.
But, along came the COVID-19 Virus. This virus that has stunned our nation finally caught up with us. We members of the AAABA were hoping for a miracle, but some of us who are close to the Johnstown Oldtimers knew it was going to be impossible to raise the funding needed to put on this great Tournament. George Arcurio III and his small group of dedicated men do a tremendous job raising the money in order that we the Franchise Members can enjoy a Tournament fully paid for by them. As a member of the AAABA National Tournament Committee, I know what it takes. My committee oversees the running of the Tournament with input from the Oldtimers as the Oldtimers daily work and count money to be sure we are able to enjoy this fine event.
With all this being said, safety was at the top along with fundraising. As George Arcurio III stated in the press release, housing, meals, playing fields and the social distancing played a big part in the decision. How can we put 5,000 people in Point Stadium, sorry I am from the old school, Sargent’s Stadium, and be 6 feet apart? Not going to happen. The Ambassadors not being able to help with all that they do and be able to stand around the infield opening night and at the closing ceremonies just wouldn’t happen. So, with closing the door on 2020, 76th National Tournament let’s look to 2021.
I know without a doubt the Johnstown Oldtimers will begin working on next August. That is just the way Georgie and his guys work. This comes from the local Johnstown level. From the National AAABA level, my job will be to make sure all our current Franchises will be able to participate in 2021 and as hard as it has been and as hard as my committee and myself have been working will be trying to get the 16-team field back to what it used to be. We know Johnstown is permitted to field two teams in the Tournament but I would like to have 14 other ones not Franchises having to support two teams so we can make the number 16.
So now it begins. Will it seem lonely in August not packing suitcases and heading to Johnstown? YES. We have to have hope that this Virus can all be put behind us and look forward to reuniting back in Johnstown in August 2021. Be safe.
AAABA Executive Director