Updated: April 13, 2021 12:00 AM
Created: April 12, 2021 11:52 PM
According to multiple coaches, The Cooperstown Dreams Park is not only requiring 12-year-old players be vaccinated to participate, they also plan to keep the deposits from teams that back out. The problem is there aren't any vaccines approved for people under the age of 16.
NewsChannel 13 tried to reach out to the park for comment. They have not returned our calls or emails.
NewsChannel 13 did speak with a coach and player who had been preparing for the Cooperstown Dreams Tournament this summer.
"It's like asking to bring a unicorn to the game,” Herb Kaminsky said. “Unicorns don't exist, this vaccine doesn't exist. How can you require it?"
Kaminsky coaches the Chester County Bobcats, a 12U baseball team from the Philadelphia area. He and his 12-year-old son Steven have been looking forward to playing in Cooperstown for years.
“We've been fundraising since nine years old and I've been touting this is a great experience since nine years old,” Kaminsky said. “Everybody that I've talked to that has gone loves the experience."
"I've been working for this for so many years and it's just like if something doesn't go right then I can just think back to Cooperstown Dreams Park and I'll be like, ‘This is what I'm working towards,’ and it just disappeared,” Steven said.
The Kaminskys said there are plenty of other tournaments and events being held this summer that don't require vaccines.
"Kids are starting to go back to school in masks, they're not required to be vaccinated in school and they're indoors,” Kaminsky said. “This, we're asking for them to be outdoors playing baseball and they have to be vaccinated? That doesn't sound right."
Teams backing out means local businesses will lose much-needed bookings and sales.
Kaminksy and multiple other viewers who contacted NewsChannel 13 said when they can finally get in touch with park management, they’re told early cancellation is a breach of contract, which means teams will lose their $4,000 deposits.
“We had no say in whether we wanted to abide by those terms,” Kaminsky said. “The final payment was due March 1, we get this letter April 8 saying here are the new terms. That’s not fair”
The park's registration sheet clearly states deposits are non-refundable and terms are subject to change.
However, Kaminsky said there's no way they could have complied because there isn't a vaccine available now, games are supposed to start at the end of May and they would need to be vaccinated three weeks prior to playing.
"So that means they would have to get their second dose by May 1, their first dose by at least April 10, which was two days ago,” he said.
The Kaminskys said now they won't ever get to go to Cooperstown, because Steven will age out of eligibility at 13.
Steven has a request for park officials: allow 12-year-old players to submit negative Covid-19 tests, just as those 11 and under can.
"I would ask them to change their mind, it would be really exciting for me,” Steven said.
Kaminsky also said park officials have also shifted the program weeks, which means those who do play this summer will have to change hotel bookings and travel arrangements they made months in advance, creating headaches for working parents and coaches.
Again, NewsChannel 13 reached out to the park multiple times for comment, they have not returned our calls or emails.
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