Baseball is back in Amarillo amid pandemic - FOX34 Lubbock

Baseball is back in Amarillo amid pandemic

Posted: Updated:
LUBBOCK, Texas -

When word started to spread that the Minor League Baseball season may be canceled due to COVID-19, the Amarillo Sod Poodles needed a backup plan to avoid an empty ballpark.

"We asked the Texas Collegiate League, would you be interested in expanding if we brought four other minor league partners in it to make an eight team league," Sod Poodles President, Tony Ensor said. "And they said yes so it was incredible, we did about four months worth of work in three weeks."

They put together two teams, the Amarillo Sod Dogs and the Amarillo Sod Squad. They host games six days a week at Hodgetown Stadium.

"I wanted to put something together that was sustainable, that was multiple events," Ensor said.

Making money was not the only motive.

"To bring our community together, giving them something uplifting to be positive about this summer," Ensor said. "And finally giving these kids an opportunity to play cause the major league draft went from 40 rounds to 5 rounds, so there's 35 rounds of top talents that weren't getting to play until we expanded this league out here."

The league began on June 30th, with each team scheduled to play 30 games in 34 days. Each roster is made up of more than 60 players from different colleges and gives them a shot to get noticed and keep their skills sharp, as most other wood bat leagues were shutdown.

"They have to have had one year of college under their belts and we've got kids from D1 schools all over the country, D2 and JUCO players that are moving to D1," Ensor said. "So we're really the highest level of baseball being played in the nation right now."

Of course one concern was how to do this league safely.

"We worked closely with our local health department to create a COVID-19 readiness plan," Ensor said. 

All the players and coaches were tested for COVID-19 before the season started and are monitored daily with temperature checks. Ensor said they have had no positive cases to date.

"We've had great crowds, socially distanced crowds and we're following all the protocols," Ensor assured.

The TCL ends in early August. As for the Sod Poodles, Ensor said it's affiliate, The San Diego Padres is still paying minor league players. Also,  several of them made the "taxi squad," so it's possible we could see them on MLB diamonds soon. 

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2020 RAMAR. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.