8/21/20 UPDATE: 10:00 AM
BAWS 2020 is postponed to a future date, same location.
Yesterday the AQI worsened as the day went into the afternoon, in the hottest and breeziest times of the day. I anticipate the same thing will take place today (in fact it did, 195 at the 2:00 pm posting of AQI) as the present weather and forecast are very similar. In fact, that is already happening.
Some apps/sites show Air Quality Index (AQI) that puts us in the range that would be acceptable to play, in the moment while other websites show very high AQI and dangerous levels of PM2.5 (the tiny particles we breathe in that irritate the eyes, nose, and respiratory system. Long-term exposure can aggravate heart and lung disease). UPDATE: By 3:30 the PM2.5 on Valley Air District site was registering at 220, WELL above the lowest end of LEVEL 5 (75).
Many players live in areas where the air quality has been very poor the last few days (San Jose area, Fresno area, Sacramento, East Bay, Chico, etc). I have to consider that many have been breathing poor/polluted air for days. That can/will compromise some while pushing themselves in competition. That’s a dangerous scenario. Factors like that are extremely important to consider, more so than what one website or app shows for the present AQI that might indicate that playing is ok.
Also under consideration are highly unpredictable fires and wind patterns. People will be traveling from all around Northern CA and there are very real chances that their home they've left behind will suddenly be in danger or their town will be evacuated, some areas have already been ordered to evacuate. Or they will experience terrible traffic due to evacuations. Fires can unpredictably break out in areas where there aren't any presently. We all know this.
There is also staff health to consider, both BAWS staff and field staff, umpires as well. There are parents and grandparents and siblings watching. There are scouts, many of whom are no longer young men, who will come out because, well, they scout and that's their job.
In light of all those considerations, I, along with a few trusted advisors, have made the very difficult, but I believe responsible and prudent decision to push back BAWS 2020. Putting even one single player at risk (I don't know 100% that 140+ kids are all perfectly healthy and can push through this bad air quality).
The contingency plan was always to use Labor Day weekend for BAWS 2020, at Islanders Field. I thought it would be due to Covid-19 issues, I sure didn't foresee fires playing a factor, though maybe I should have. There aren't an infinite amount of dates that work for everyone, it's just not possible.
I know how much you (we) all want to see the players on the field. The stress of college exposure/recruiting, simply wanting to see the kids playing and having fun, getting out of the house and doing something 'normal', I understand.
This is a great inconvenience to a great many of us. Ultimately my decision comes down to ensuring that the players' health is considered (every one of them). Given the conditions the last few days and what's likely to be at least for the next couple of days, the best way to ensure their health is to postpone BAWS 2020 until September 5-7, at Islanders Field.
The event will be live streamed and that will go a LONG way toward helping the exposure for the players. Last weekend, the PBR CA State Games had over 90 college coaches from across the nation watching at any given time. The NCAA dead period is being extended or has been extended until 9/30/20 (at a minimum), so the live streaming is VERY VERY valuable.
HOTELS at HAMPTON INN - MANTECA
As for those who booked rooms at the Hampton Inn in Manteca, here is what the group reservation manager Raquel Hernandez says... She will be very accommodating so long as you follow her instructions, which are:
‘For those arriving Friday, they will need to call (209-823-1926) and cancel today. For those families arriving Saturday, they NEED to call no later than 5:00 PM tomorrow, Friday, 8/21/20 to cancel their reservation and not be charged. I will waive any late cancellation as long as the reservations are cancelled accordingly. I am not here over the weekend and my Front Desk Agents do not have the authority to override or authorize any fee waivers.’
Very sincerely and humbly,
8/20/20 UPDATE: 11:10 PM
Here are current numbers from the sites I've been monitoring, including a new site I was tipped off on:
air-quality.com is showing AQI of 163 and 80 PM2.5
airnow.gov is at 154 for AQI (reporting for 10:00). Remember, the highest AQI number allowed for outdoor sporting events is generally 150. Tomorrow airnow.gov is now forecasting an unhealthy AQI, meaning, over 150. In that case Friday BAWS would be postponed but I'd keep open the possibility of Saturday happening, as well as Sunday. Will keep on this into the evening. The make-up of Friday would take place at a later date.
Valley Air district is showing PM2.5 levels at 85, above Level 5 (Everyone should avoid outdoor activity) and the ozone concentration is 28 (down from a high of 100 today), which is Level 1 and good news. The PM2.5 number I am watching most closely.
I am pushing out the decision for BAWS 2020 a little later into the day, possibly until tomorrow AM. I know, that's stressful.
But there is one small positive sign for AQI tomorrow on the https://www.airnow.gov/?city=Lathrop&state=CA&country=USA site. I have no idea, other than reading how they come up with forecasts, how or why they are so positive for tomorrow. The AQI on their site is now at very unhealthy level designation (213).
Please stand by, I have to see this thing through and allow more time for a decision. I understand hotel concerns. I've been in touch with group manager at Hampton Inn Manteca and those who have booked there will be take care of provided I make a decision today. If/when we need to make hotel adjustments, I will get you the information. Thank you. If you have a hotel for tonight and feel canceling is the right thing to do, by all means, I think that's a good decision. We don't start until 2:30 tomorrow anyway.
UPDATE: 1:41 PM
No firm decision yet, but there is a possibility of a postponement of BAWS 2020. Labor Day weekend is the contingency plan (Sept 5-7), same facility.
Here is map for purpleair.com, showing Manteca/Lathrop area. That reading is presently 385 on that platform. That number has risen from 236 as recently as 11:26 AM. Clearly the air quality is still in decline.
The ROAR (Real-time Outdoor Activity Risk (ROAR) Guidelines for San Joaquin County) presently show Level 5 for Lathrop (with hourly PM 2.5 concentration at 176, up from 35 at 7 AM and 103 at 12:00 PM). PM2.5 is the particle pollution that is the extremely small particles that can harm the heart and lungs. The ozone concentration is also rising sharply each hour. The guidelines for Level 5 are as follows:
* Athletic Practice & Training (2-4 Hrs) - No outdoor activity. All activities should be moved indoors.
*Scheduled sporting events - Event must be rescheduled or relocated.
* P.E. (1 Hr) - No outdoor activity. All activities should be moved indoors.
Though obviously BAWS and summer events fall outside of CIF legislation/by-laws, it is prudent for me to follow the same guidelines. Here are the exact words from the NCS website:
An air quality index of less than 151 must be registered for all high school outdoor athletic events hosted by NCS member schools during preseason, league and section championship events. NCS member schools may not host outdoor contests when the AQI is equal to or greater than 151. NOTE: Host school determines AQI using an app or website info. (NCS Board of Managers 4/3/18)
UPDATE: 915 AM
I will be assessing the air quality index today and making a decision sometime around 2:30, whether to postpone BAWS 2020 or to go forward. Presently the Air Quality Index (AQI) for Lathrop is 163, which is in the unhealthy range and particularly so for outdoor sports activity. I have also downloaded the Valley Air District app and am monitoring that as well. Presently it is showing level 5 for the location of the ballpark, which indicates 'everyone should avoid outdoor activity'
Please follow me @BayAreaWS on twitter as that will be the easiest way to communicate plans to move forward or to postpone, or any other adjustments needed.
I have contacted the Hampton Inn in Manteca (the property I previously sent info about) and have alerted them that there is a strong possibility that the weekend event is postponed.
Please stay tuned. I do have additional dates scheduled at Islanders Field and BAWS 2020 will take place, either this weekend or soon thereafter.
We have confirmed August 21-23 as dates for BAWS 2020, at Islanders Field in Lathrop. The next step will be to create the schedule/format within the state/county/facility guidelines, regarding social distancing, etc. Please remain patient for a bit longer. I should have that schedule/format worked out by Monday Aug. 17.
Those reading this are very likely aware that the NCAA recruiting dead period for recruiting has been pushed out to August 31. I have been told with significant confidence that the deadline may get pushed even further, possibly to March 2021.
There are efforts being made to hold the BAWS simulated competition toward the end of August or possibly over Labor Day weekend (Sept 5-7).
That is the lay of the land today. I will continue to assess the landscape and see where we fit, so as to maximize the benefit for the players and the college coaches. Good news is that I have the ability to live stream, which is obviously a good thing and best we can do in lieu of no college coaches being allowed out on the recruiting trail.