The Johnstown Oldtimers Baseball Association and national AAABA Committee are accustomed to adapting to figurative curve balls.
Bad weather, lighting issues and even a global pandemic have kept tournament organizers busy over the years.
The COVID-19 pandemic will prevent a new team based in Ottawa, Canada, from participating this year. The 76th AAABA Tournament certainly will miss the Capital City Reds, who had to drop out due to pandemic restrictions limiting travel across the U.S.-Canada border.
But the event, which will begin on Aug. 2 at Johnstown’s Sargent’s Stadium at the Point and surrounding community fields, still is ready to deliver a week of exciting baseball played by 16 teams in the pool play tourney.
This year’s teams will include two representatives from the host city Johnstown that will be determined by the Johnstown Collegiate Baseball League’s semifinal and championship round playoffs that begin on July 16.
Altoona and Brooklyn each will have two teams in this year’s tournament.
A new franchise based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina will play in the 2021 tournament as the Carolina Disco Turkeys travel North. The Disco Turkeys have generated excitement on and off the field since their debut this season.
The field also will include 2019 champion New Orleans, the winner of the 75th AAABA Tournament. COVID-19 wiped out the 2020 tournament, which means the Boosters still are defending champions.
Also in the field are: Buffalo; Cleveland; Columbus; Maryland State; New Brunswick; Philadelphia, Youngstown and Zanesville.
The opening night festivities will include the return of a popular tradition as the Flood City Corvette Club will transport the AAABA Ambassadors into the Point alongside players from the 14 teams not participating in the official opener on Aug. 2.
Miss Pennsylvania, Meghan Sinisi of Altoona, will throw one of the ceremonial pitches before the opener.
Johnstown Oldtimers President George Arcurio III said nearly 4,000 advance tickets had been sold to the opening night game through July 13.