The AAABA Tournament scheduled on Aug. 3 to 9 at Sargent’s Stadium and outlying fields throughout the Johnstown region has been canceled due to concerns and uncertainty stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Plans to hold the 76th AAABA Tournament in August 2021 are underway.
A statement by Johnstown Oldtimers Baseball Asscociation President George Arcurio III explaining this difficult decision follows:
It is with deep regret that I, along with the Johnstown Oldtimers Board of Directors, announce the cancellation of the 76th annual All American Amateur Baseball Association Tournament scheduled in August 2020. As everybody is aware, the AAABA Tournament is a Johnstown and national tradition. So after 47 years with AAABA, it breaks my heart to cancel this year’s tournament.
As president of the Johnstown Oldtimers Baseball Association and past president of the National AAABA this has not been an easy decision. Allow me to explain why this decision is necessary.
• This is the only free tournament in the country for 16 teams from all over the United States to participate. The Johnstown Oldtimers raise the funds to pay for all rooms, meals and all expenses.
* The health and well-being of all 320 players, coaches, managers, as well as all volunteers and fans at eight different locations for a week is essential. With the current pandemic, along with the social distancing, makes it virtually impossible to have events and games for one week in August.
• With the virus spread throughout the country, there is no guarantee that the national franchises will have a regular season and league. As of this press release, one franchise has canceled its season and it appears that three more will fall in line soon.
• Housing as of now is a problem if UPJ is unable to open along with the local hotels we use. There will be a shortfall of housing for everybody. Because of social distancing, we will not be able to house four players per room, as we have for 75 years.
• Restaurants, along with the three major hotels we use, will not be able to feed our teams. This creates a large problem.
• With the Pasquerilla Conference Center closed we can’t have our annual Hall of Fame Banquet. Also, because of the pandemic we have not been able to get a “big name speaker.”
• Our annual players banquet, Sunday night before the tournament, cannot be held because the 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial has been closed and we would be in violation of social distancing.
• With high schools and colleges closed, there is no guarantee that we will have enough fields to play our games.
• Without our AAABA volunteers and AAABA Ambassadors from a three-county area, we can’t go out into the business communities and sell tickets and advertisements. With the businesses closed this creates a huge financial loss, and with most places having financial difficulty, how can we impose on them to donate money when they can’t meet their payroll or pay their bills?
• After communicating with our major sponsors, it has been determined that because of the pandemic, the Johnstown Oldtimers will have a shortfall of funds in the amount of $30,000 to $40,000 before we enter into the tournament. With businesses closed many have NO OPERATING CAPITAL, and cannot financially assist us this year.
In looking at the major expenses that we, the Johnstown Oldtimers, have to cover along with all other expenditures that we have, it will be impossible to put on a first-class tournament.
Some of the major expenses we cover are:
1, All rooms and meals.
3, Scorekeepers, gate workers, press box workers.
5, Trophies, awards, players T-shirts.
6, Opening night prizes.
7, Promotions, publicity, advertisements.
9, Printing of tickets and program books.
10, Annual players banquet.
11, Annual Hall of Fame Banquet.
12, Police and security.
As of now, there are no guarantees when things will get back to normal. The previous points are the major factors in making this crucial decision to cancel the 2020 AAABA Tournament.
The Johnstown Oldtimers will start mapping out plans for the 2021 AAABA Tournament and plan to return stronger than ever to provide a quality event with a continued strong presence in the local economy by supporting and promoting all local businesses.
We thank everybody for their continued concern and support for the AAABA.
Sincerely yours in Sports,
George Arcurio III
President Johnstown Oldtimers Baseball Association