2020 LLWS, MLB Little League Classic canceled

April 30th, 2020

The 2020 Little League World Series has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It's the first time in the history of the Little League organization that the World Series has been canceled. The regional qualifying tournaments that lead up to the LLWS were also canceled.

So was the 2020 MLB Little League Classic, which would have taken place between the Red Sox and Orioles on Aug. 23 in Williamsport.

The Little League World Series will return in 2021. Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have also committed to coming back to Williamsport for the next MLB Little League Classic in August 2021.

"This is a heartbreaking decision for everyone at Little League International, but more so for those millions of Little Leaguers who have dreamt of one day playing in one of our seven World Series events," Little League president Stephen D. Keener said in a statement on Thursday.

"After exhausting all possible options, we came to the conclusion that because of the significant public health uncertainty that will still exist several months from now, and with direction from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, as well as senior public health officials and government leaders from locations where our other six World Series are held, as well as their qualifying regional tournaments, it will not be possible to proceed with our tournaments as we've hosted them for nearly 75 years."

The 2020 cancellations include seven Little League World Series events for the different baseball and softball divisions -- not just in Williamsport, but in North Carolina, California, Michigan, Washington, South Carolina and Delaware as well -- and 82 regional tournaments.

In last year's Little League World Series, the U.S. team from River Ridge, La., defeated Curacao in the championship game, 8-0.

This year would have been the fourth MLB Little League Classic. The Pirates and Cardinals played the inaugural game in 2017, the Phillies and Mets played in '18, and the Pirates and Cubs played in '19.

“The Little League Classic has become one of the highlights of the baseball calendar for everyone in our game," Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "Since 2017, our players, clubs and staff have immensely enjoyed spending time with Little Leaguers, their coaches and families from around our country and the world. While the cancellation of the 2020 Little League World Series is extremely disappointing, the health and safety of all of the people involved must be the paramount consideration. We look forward to our return to Williamsport for the 2021 MLB Little League Classic.” 

Little League cited the complexities of travel restrictions, the level of COVID-19 testing and preventative measures that would need to be in place and responses from teams around the world that they wouldn't be able to participate as reasons for canceling the LLWS events.

Little League continued to recommend that local leagues follow their individual state and community guidelines if they want to resume play after May 11, and to confirm with health officials that it's safe to do so.