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Charlottesville Tom Sox may miss out on proposed relief fund for baseball teams

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 2:43 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Virginia Senator Mark Warner has introduced legislation to repurpose COVID-19 funding to support minor league baseball teams. However, the Charlottesville Tom Sox are a collegiate summer baseball team and would not be eligible.

The team also didn’t receive any PPP loan support throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and its players have felt the weight of a lost season.

“Baseball’s always been in my life,” player Gehrig Ebel said. “It just meant a lot to me, and when they said the season was over I was heartbroken.”

“I think any kind of support is beneficial for any level. You know, these kids come from all over the country,” Tom Sox Head Coach Kory Koehler said.

Koehler says that the funding helps host families open their doors to the players.

Sen. Warner’s proposed $550 million federal program would allow minor league teams to apply for grants. Teams could receive up to 45% of their revenues from the 2019 season to bridge the gap until the next season begins. The act was introduced on Thursday, June 24. If passed, it would be able to to help the nine teams in the commonwealth.

However, this doesn’t help the Tom Sox, and Koehler thinks the governor could step in.

“I think the governor could step in just to kind of evaluate where it stands, and put the Collegiate League, the Valley League up there with a minor league system and say, ‘Hey, does the Valley League need help and assistance as much as the minor league systems?’” the coach said.

Despite the lack of government support, the team is excited to finally be back on the field for the summer.

“We’ve got a long summer ahead of us. We hope to win a championship here for Charlottesville,” Koehler said.

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