No Killebrew Days this year

Baseball-playing children of various ages enjoy being part of the action Harmon Killebrew Miracle Field in this scene from the 2016 fundraiser held during Harmon Killebrew Days.

PAYETTE - Along with the rest of the spring high school sports season this year, Payette High School baseball coach Tracy Bratcher has announced the cancelation of the 2020 Harmon Killebrew Days. Bratcher and Mark Heleker co-created the annual event in 2005. The event celebrates the anniversary of the grand opening of the field, and acts as the Miracle League of Payette’s annual fundraiser. The event was on the chopping block before the rest of the spring season was cut, according to Bratcher.

“I had planned on canceling Killebrew days before our season ever got cancelled,” he told the newspaper in an email on April 3. “It was just the beginning of the pandemic, and I was worried about an event that would put a lot people in close contact. I would rather be overly cautious when it comes to my players and my community.”

Prior to spring break, Bratcher said he met with his boys and talked abut what would become of the season. At that time, they felt there might be a chance the season would be back on after spring break. 

“This is unfortunate for everyone. When you turn on the news and see the number of infected and deaths rise everyday it puts everything in perspective. Baseball is just a game. Right now we just need to take care of the people that are closest to us. I feel bad for our seniors (Deano Rodriguez, Nick Tompkins, and Gage Bruntland). As a a team we always stress playing every game like it’s your last.”

As for the future of his team, Bratcher said his returning players aready to play ball the moment the all-clear is sounded.

“All we can do is listen to the experts and stay home for now. The toughest part of this is the uncertainty. Will we get to play this summer? My biggest concern is this community and my players. This group of guys will be ready whenever they say it’s safe to be on the “yard”. I know they are at home just itching to get back to playing some ball.”

Bratcher reminds his players that he is there for them through this public health crisis. He also pointed out that plans for Harmon Killebrew Days remain in place for 2021.

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