It’s been a tumultuous week for the Roseburg Docs baseball program, but the team and its organizers say they’re back on the same page and excited about the path forward.
Tensions ran high after the American Legion Post 16 commission in Roseburg voted to cancel the remainder of the Docs’ season on July 14, but a meeting on Monday between community members, head coach Jeremiah Robbins and members of the Legion commission helped clear the air.
“We had some things we just needed to work out,” Legion commissioner Tom Donegan said.
Frustrations in the program had gotten to the point where Robbins considered stepping away from his role as head coach. After Monday’s conversation, he felt better about the situation.
“We now have a plan moving forward the rest of this summer, the off-season and into next year,” Robbins said. “I’m excited about the next phase.”
“People are able to make progress when they work together,” Donegan said. “That’s what Jeremiah and I are trying to do. We’re all about trying to make some progress.”
The progress made over the past week will allow the older Docs’ players to continue their development at Bill Gray Legion Stadium at Champion Car Wash Field through practices and intrasquad scrimmages.
The younger players on the Docs’ roster will join one of the six teams in the Douglas County High School League that will continue to play games through Aug. 7 at Champion Car Wash Field.
The current situation is in stark contrast to the message from the Legion commission a week ago, when it said that Champion Car Wash Field was shut down to all baseball activities.
Donegan said that the commission continued to evaluate the ever-changing situation after its vote last week and did so with two things in mind.
“The first thing we’re trying to do is being careful and the second thing is trying to listen,” he said. “What can we do that is acceptable and safe in our mind and leave some opportunity for the kids to play.”
The commission approved an appeal from Dave York and the members of the Douglas County High School League on Friday, granting the league use of the stadium and absolving the Legion commission of all liabilities.
A similar agreement was made on Monday to allow use of the stadium by the Docs players and coaching staff. The players, mostly all college-bound student-athletes, will work with the coaches to prepare for fall seasons at their college programs.
Robbins said the group will stay local and not invite anyone from outside the region to take part. A few former Docs players, including Josh Graham, Jake Forrester, Chris Stone and Wryland McKnight, are currently in the area will also join the practices.
When asked why the high school league was allowed to continue play and the Docs were not, Donegan said much of the decision came down to responsibility.
He said the Legion commission is responsible for the Docs program and “we knew our kids are safe. Jeremiah set the safety protocols for the Docs. We were real confident about the safety there.”
The issue was with safety protocols for opposing programs that either visited Roseburg or hosted the Docs on the road. One such example was a Newberg team that visited Champion Car Wash Field for a Fourth of July Tournament and has now been connected to 39 cases of COVID-19 stemming from its program, according to a report from The Newberg Graphic.
Donegan said the high school league is responsible for itself and consists of only teams from Douglas County, keeping things local.
In a Docs season that has had many ups and downs, Donegan looked for a silver lining.
“Kids do have an opportunity to still work out and coach Robbins is still going to be doing a lot of training with the players that were on the Docs,” Donegan said. “It’s not the same as a game, but it’s not a total loss. A few more weeks working with a coach is going to be a benefit for all these kids.”