OTL tournament canceled for first time in 67 year history

The Over-The-Line Tournament, a San Diego institution, will not go on for the first time in its 67 year history.

The annual showcase from the Old Misssion Bay Athletic Club could not overcome the rules of the social distancing age, not when thousands pack Fiesta Island each July for the event.

“Right from the beginning, we started to meet and talk about not just Over-The-Line, but all of our events,” vice president Brad Pagano said. “If you can’t feel 100 percent certain that everyone will come off Fiesta Island safe, why risk it?”

A game of modified baseball with invisible runners and very visible fans…known just as much for its former debauchery as its current day, closer to family fun feel, this is the first time the annual July tradition will not be taking place.

“I’ve been to the World Championships every year since I was born,” four time Men’s Open champion and OMBAC member Jeff Briggs said.

“We’ve been around 67 years,” Pagano said. “We are a San Diego tradition. The game was founded at South Mission Beach. There’s nothing like it.”

Organizers could not justify putting its fans or members at risk, especially since many of the OMBAC community are of older age. The downfall is the economic impact that the tournament brings to businesses in the Mission Bay area each year.

“The game is three on three, but the courts are so close together,” Pagano said. “Logistically, could we have pulled it off? Maybe. [But] these people still have to park, still have to get to Fiesta, still have to walk together.”

“You could play an OTL tournament without violating social distancing,” Briggs said. “You can play without touching each other. But the World Championships wouldn’t be the same without the spectacle of the game. The spectators may never play, but they’re a huge part of the game itself.”

OTL was scheduled to take place the weekends of July 11th and 18th.


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