The Palm Beach County Sports Commission partnered with FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium to host the Men’s Senior Baseball League (MSBL) Fall Classic from November 7-21, 2020. The MSBL Fall Classic is traditionally one of the largest amateur baseball tournaments, tailored for adults, that takes place annually in the United States. In 2019, the event brought over 100 teams and nearly 2,000 athletes to The Palm Beaches. In 2020, the event was restricted and altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Less than 60 teams and 800 athletes participated in this prestigious amateur baseball event. The participating teams originated from across Florida and nine different states. In addition to big plays and clutch home runs, this event created economic benefits for The Palm Beaches. Nearly 3,000 hotel room nights were created along with an estimated $1.5 million in economic impact for Palm Beach County.
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission worked closely with the Men’s Senior Baseball League to significantly modify the event from previous years to ensure the safety of all participants and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The event scaled down from a team participation standpoint and postponed play for its international division to encourage an atmosphere that allowed for greater distancing and obtain a higher concentration of teams from Florida’s drive market.
The event featured six adult age groups (18+, 35+, 45+, 50+, 55+, 60+). Teams competed in a round-robin format, which was followed by play-offs, to determine MSBL champions. The MSBL Fall Classic consisted of hundreds of games that all took place with strict COVID-19 protocols. All participants and spectators, excluding presently competing players, were required to wear masks. Reusable branded face masks were provided to every participant. Spectators were required to socially distance around the complex. COVID-19 testing was required for teams traveling from outside of Florida. Signage provided by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission reiterated mask wearing and social distancing throughout the event grounds. During games, social distancing occurred, and equipment sharing was not permitted. After games, handshakes were prohibited, and dugouts were cleaned before new teams arrived.
“Our Sports Commission was thrilled to host the Men’s Senior Baseball League to host their Fall Classic at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium safely and responsibly,” said George Linley, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. “Extraordinary precautions were taken to ensure the event could take place in The Palm Beaches while combatting the spread of COVID-19. Hosting this event provided a needed revenue stream for Palm Beach County’s hospitality industry while paving a path for sports tourism recovery in our destination.”
FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium offer two marquee stadiums and 24 total baseball diamonds. This provides Palm Beach County a unique competitive advantage in terms of recruiting and hosting baseball tournaments and showcases.
The Men’s Senior Baseball League is the premier amateur baseball organization for adults. The league has 325 local affiliates, 3,200 teams, and 45,000 members who play organized amateur baseball in local leagues. MSBL hosts 30 regional tournaments and six national tournaments annually.