RABA returns for 2021 with five team circuit

PETIT DE GRAT: The Richmond Amateur Baseball Association (RABA) is planning to have games and playoffs this season.

During a meeting on March 28 in Petit de Grat, it was decided that St. Peter’s, Port Hawkesbury, Petit de Grat, Little Anse, and Isle Madame will make up the 2021 edition of the league.

“All the teams seem to be pretty well set, they don’t expect any problems as far as having players, or things like that. They seem to think they’re all going to have a sufficient number of players,” RABA president Gary David said. “Talking to all the coaches yesterday, they all seem fairly confident that they have enough players to play. As far as we know, we’re a go.”

After taking off the 2020 season, David told The Reporter on March 29 that each team will play a 16 game schedule, with games slated to start on July 1.

“We’re fairly happy,” David said. “We’re going to play this year, no matter what. That decision was made yesterday. If we have to play with umpires behind the mound, that’s what it will be. Whatever rules are set out by Baseball Nova Scotia, are the rules that we’ll abide by.”

David said some of the new rules could include having umpires stationed behind the mound, instead of behind the catcher, and no seating inside dug-outs.

Although a schedule is not finalized, David said the regular season scheduled is set to end in early September.

“We’re looking at an end date in early September and playoffs after that,” the RABA president noted. “It’ll be a one weekend tournament.”

Before the decision was made not to play games last year, Inverness made the decision to leave the league, and did not indicate any intention to be reinstated this year. In the case of St. Peter’s, they also asked to take a leave from the RABA in 2020, but attended last week’s meeting and have now been reinstated.

In the meantime, volunteers and players are doing some renovations to the Petit de Grat ballfield, which the Petit de Grat, Little Anse and Isle Madame teams all call home. This work includes constructing French drains, making a new home plate area and work to the pitcher’s mound, with an expected completion date of early June.

“They want to re-do the infield, they want to do a little bit of painting around the outside,” said David. “It’s probably a couple of weeks’ work, that’s why we’re going to be a little late starting. That field takes in three of the teams.”

Last year, the RABA planned to hold ceremonies commemorating its 50th anniversary of the league, but those were put on hold due public health restrictions.

David said the league decided to hold-off until 2022 to honour that milestone. This will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Petit de Grat team, and the 50th anniversary of teams from Little Anse, David said.

“We don’t want have restrictions as to the number of people that can be in a building, or things like that, or travelling, all kinds of things like that. We’ve got a couple of people looking into already the planning aspect of it. Once we have that in place, we’ll be all set to go,” he added. “I don’t know if we’ll do it all at once, but we’re going to talk about that and see how we’re going to do it. We’d like to make it a year of celebrating baseball.”