Youth baseball tournament is first sporting event to return in Memphis area

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Collierville Dragons prepare to play at GameDay Baseball in Cordova.

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CORDOVA, Tenn. — It’s not the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s not the Memphis Redbirds.

But it is baseball, much-needed baseball, especially for the ones playing the game and the ones in the stands.

Friday night in Cordova, GameDay baseball played host to the first sporting event in Memphis since the pandemic began, a three day, 78-team youth baseball tournament.

We had everything you expect to see at a ball game — pitchers, hitters, umpires and fans.

But things like bleachers and sunflower seeds are missing.

GameDay followed all the safety protocols including social distancing.

“There’s no doubt people want to be in here,” said GameDay Tournament Director Johnny Ray. “People want to play. People want to get back to some sort of normalcy in their lives. Being outside playing baseball is the quickest way I know in my personal life to get back to some sort of normalcy. We’ve been cooped up for a long time. I think everybody’s ready. You can just tell people are glad to be back outside. They’ve got spring fever.”

Just across the state line in DeSoto County, another of the south’s top baseball facilities, Snowden Grove in Southaven, remains closed.

So far during this pandemic, Snowden Grove has been forced to cancel seven tournaments, upwards of 800 teams.

But all that could be coming to an end.

Friday, Mississippi governor Tate Reeves announced plans to safely reopen outdoor facilities.

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