WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Little League is offering youth baseball organizations a path forward as they eye a restart amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The organization released a series of "best practices" guidelines this week that highlight how to create a safe playing environment whenever state and local authorities allow youth sports to restart in a given area.
Little League canceled the 2020 Little League World Series and other championships because of the pandemic last month, but it remains hopeful a regular season may still be possible.
Little League president Stephen Keener said during a roundtable discussion Thursday that it compiled the outline after consulting with medical professionals and receiving guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, among others.
While Keener stressed the decision will ultimately be made by each family, he believes it was important to show parents that playing "can be done, we think as safely as possible ... if you follow these guidelines."
The recommendations include eliminating all non-essential contact and banning the postgame handshake line in favor of lining up along the respective baselines and tipping caps to opponents.
All players should wear masks while in the dugout, and coaches and volunteers should wear masks and protective medical gloves at all times, the guidelines said. Players should also be separated by 6 feet while in the dugout or in the stands and the shared use of equipment is prohibited when possible.
Umpires would move from behind home plate to behind the pitcher's mound and game balls would be switched out every two innings.
Concession sales, including ballpark staples like sunflower seeds, would also be prohibited. The recommendations also ban spitting and include limiting the amount of family members allowed into a facility to watch games.
Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who hosted the roundtable, said he would sign his 10-year-old son up for baseball "tomorrow" because he believes it can be done safely.
"I think it is time that we begin resuming normal life," Toomey said.
The best practices were released a week after Major League Baseball put together a 67-page proposal outlining how it could conceivably return to play this year.