COMMERCE — The 21st annual Mickey Mantle Classic, scheduled for April 9-11, has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision comes after the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association announced Thursday, March 26 that all spring sports had been cancelled for the remainder of the 2019-2020 season.
“This is all you can do,” tournament director Brian Waybright said.
Waybright said the decision had been made a couple weeks ago to cancel the tournament awards banquet then pulled the plug on the tournament.
“If we hadn’t (cancelled the banquet) there would have been a real big loss,” Waybright said. “At some point, we just had to make a decision because there’s too much riding on it with Frank White coming down and all the other things.”
White, a member of the Kansas City Royals’ 1985 World Series champion team was to have been this year’s special guest.
He’s already been confirmed for 2021, when the tournament will be played April 8-10.
There were 248 positive cases of coronavirus in Oklahoma as of Thursday morning, and 33 counties had at least one case.
Ottawa, Craig and Delaware counties all were among those reporting COVID-19 cases.
“We’re just now starting to see the effects. I don’t know if its new testing or people are just starting to catch it,” Waybright said.
Teams in the field for the ’20 tournament were Afton, Liberty, Wyandotte, Quapaw, Diamond, Missouri, and CHS in the Comet (small school) division and Miami, Providence Academy, Grove and McDonald County, Missouri, in the Triple Crown (large school) division.
“We held on to holding the tournament as long as we could because we always felt we needed to give the kids and the coaches the best chance we could to play,” Waybright said. “It’s horrible for the seniors, it really is.”
Mother Nature had been the biggest enemy of the tournament in the previous 20 years.
In 2008 and 2018 both championship games were rained out and in 2011 and 2012, both large school games were cancelled — but the banquet was still held.
“Even if we did the banquet (this year), it would have been a limited turnout,” Waybright said. “It was just something out of our control.”