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Updated: Jan 16th, 2021
PW Baseball Welcomes 2021 to the Plate
By: |

Tampa - Doesn't matter where you go, someone is bound to say something along the lines of, "I am so glad 2020 is over!" And in many cases, the majority of the world would agree. 2020 was a year that interupted the lives of everyone young & old. It was a year of loss, heartbreak, depression, anxiety and for some, growth. For PW Baseball, 2020 claimed 12 events from our schedule, including our 2 longest running events, the Southeast Championships & the West Coast Championships. When the dust settled on the 2020 summer, the entire state of California, and most of Arizona, would miss out on most of the normal events they were used to seeing. 

Fortunately, for Prospect Wire, the state of Florida reopned in July, and with it came a slew of events, many sold out. The trend continued through October, with PW Baseball even running their first November & December events in our 16 year history. 2020, while a frustrating year to start, was a year we were grateful for. We learned to adjust in the world of COVID, and provide a safe and secure atmosphere, with parents, coaches & players working together to achieve those goals. We were proud to report only 1 case of COVID at an event was reported, and the teams involved quickly took action to quaratine those involved. 

As we prepare for the 18th year of Prospect Wire Baseball, we have settled into our new "norm", and are prepared to once again welcome a full schedule back to Florida & Arizona. Unfortunately, things have not progressed enough to make any official decisions about California and our 4 events, but we are monitoring the situation and will continue to provide updates as they are made available to us. 

2021 will have some slight changes to the schedule that differ from recent years past. "Last year, we had a lot of time to think about ways to improve our schedule. We looked for places to add some events, while contending with the ever changing landscape in travel baseball. One of the biggest things we wanted to do was combine the PW World Series event back into 1 tournament," explained Prospect Wire Vice President Brian Werner. "In the past, we have always separated the 18U/17U teams from the others. We felt it would allow evaluators attending the event to focus on one specific group, rather than the older kids taking away from the younger player's exposure. But we have also listened to coaches who were not attending because they could not bring all their teams at the same time. So this year, July 9-13 will be The PW World Series, with 18U-13U competing at the same time. We are excited because registration is already ramped up on this event!"

The new year will also potentially bring new solutions to obstacles that Prospect Wire is facing. Unfortunately, due to outside circumstances, Prospect Wire will not be hosting events at Boombah Sports Complex in 2021. So several key events needed new homes. 

"COVID changed a lot of things last year, including MLB & Minor League Baseball operations," stated Werner.

In Florida, several of the Florida State League teams were dissolved, opening up facilities that no longer are going to host those teams. Places like the Tampa Bay Rays complex in Port Charlotte and the new Atlanta Braves complex in Venice no longer have teams expected to occupy the facility during the summer months. 

"Some of our events need those type of facilities," explained Werner. "In the case of our Florida State Championships, normally the last event of the summer, we needed a new home for it after losing Boombah. We reached out to the Rays and are working on finalizing the use of their facility for the event in 2021. We are attempting to secure fields with the Balitmore Orioles as well, in an effort to host our National Championship there, along with the other local MLB Spring Training facilities. It's a win-win situation. They need to generate revenue and the use of their facility increases the value of attending the event for all teams."

Some of the other changes you will see on this year's schedule include 3 new locations for the NextGen Spring League. Shifting it's opening weekend from Gainesville to Venice, FL, the league will also have stops in Fort Pierce and Auburndale in 2021. The Southeast Championships, previously in Sanford, FL since 2015, will move to Auburndale, FL. There is also the addition of a few extra spring events for the 13U & 14U teams, including the NextGen Arizona Classic in early April. 

"We are just really excited to get back to some form of normalcy," remarked Brian Werner. "We didn't know what to do with ourselves last year early on. We kept preparing events just in case things opened up, and then we would cancel them one by one. It was a very frustrating April - June for us. To go through the motions of preparing events, only to have them get added to the list of lost tournaments was depressing. But we were fortunate to get in what we did. Many states did not have that same fortune. So we are grateful for what we did get."

I think we are all ready to say PLAY BALL on a fresh new year of PW Baseball! 

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