DANVILLE — Coaches and players of Danville American Legion Youth Baseball have been waiting for a week like this.
The ALYB started practice for the season this week and teams had their first chance to practice on the field including the Country Store Health Foods 12 and under team on Friday at Clyde Osborn Field.
“With all the kids sitting around, this is probably the best thing for them all year because to have energy and to have the camaraderie between them saves them from video games,” Country Store head coach Marcus Crosby said. “For me, this probably the best day all year because I love baseball as well.”
“I feel like Little League Baseball will contribute to the healing of our town and the healing of our nation,” assistant coach David Hurley said. “I would love to see Major League Baseball come back since it is our national pastime. We all feel that life is stopped or a a standstill if we can’t do the things that are precious to our society.”
The practice is the start of two straight days of practice for the team, who was the only team practicing at the Legion complex on Friday.
The league announced a few weeks ago that the practices would begin with hope of starting the season on the week of June 22nd. But with the central region of Illinois slated to go to Phase 4 on June 26, the league will more than likely go to an alternate schedule of games starting on June 29.
“We have had conversations with (ALYB President Brian Hensgen) and the owners of the park and they didn’t know if we were going to have a season,” Crosby said. “They made the decision some weeks ago and they sent out a letter. I don’t know if parents moved to another park, but we only have four teams this year and it gives kids that want to play an opportunity. Maybe parents are scared with this pandemic to still transition.”
Both Crosby and Hurley each have kids playing on the team and is just as pleased to get out and teach.
“For me, this is the best day ever. It takes your mind away from everything in the world,” Crosby said. “Being in the house wears on you and you lose all focus. To have the kids even out of the house to have practice is the best thing right now.”
“My son has been excited for this day,” Hurley said. “I had kept it from him because I didn’t want to disappoint him, but once the day was here, we he was very pumped.”
With the prospect of a season now in full view, Hurley said Friday is a big step to some normalcy.
“People are hungry for some sense of normalcy and people can take a sigh of relief in thinking that things can return even if it is slightly altered,” Hurley said. “We have a great life in America and we want to get back to that and preserve that.”