BRISTOL - With spring sports cancelled nearly everywhere around the United States due to the outbreak of COVID-19, many are already shifting their focus to the summer.
The Bristol Blues are not scheduled to begin their season until June 3 and no decisions to amend the season have come from NECBL, so the team is planning to move along as planned. With the roster nearly complete the team is looking forward to having a strong season filled with motivated players coming off of a missed collegiate season.
“As of now, everything is scheduled to be as normal,” general manager Nick Rascati said. “We don’t have any meetings set up or anything like that right now. We’re kind of just waiting to see what happens.”
Most college baseball players normally have very little time in between the end of their collegiate seasons and the start of their summer league seasons, but without any college baseball to be played the Blues will be able to have their full roster from the start of the season.
In previous years, the Blues players were only expected to report to the team two or three days prior to the first game, but with an ample amount of extra time, they could hypothetically set up a preseason training camp.
“I think it’s going to be an exciting summer because for the first time in probably a long time, regardless of what collegiate summer league you’re in, everybody is going to have their full rosters from the get-go, which is unprecedented as far as summer ball goes,” manager Ronnie Palmer said. “A lot times you get some of your guys that show up after regionals, so you’re adding them a week, or two weeks or two and a half weeks after the season starts.”
Players will obviously be fresher after not coming off of the strain of their spring season, but could also be rusty from not playing those games. While they are all likely training on their own, it is very difficult to simulate in-game situations and intensity.
“You’re taking guys out of their normal routine, going to class, working out, going to practice, playing games, travel,” Palmer said. “They’re going to have to take it upon themselves if they want to continue to work out. I think it will be interesting, I don’t think it will be detrimental, but they’re certainly going to be missing a little of what they get from their college coaches in the spring season.”
Whether or not there will be a season is still undetermined as the spread of the coronavirus is yet to be contained, but with two and a half months until the start of the NECBL year the players and coaches are certainly itching to step on a baseball diamond.
“As college baseball fans, a lot of the area will be excited about this as well because they’re going to get to see a lot of these guys in action that they didn’t get to see in the spring,” Palmer said. “It should be a wonderful atmosphere, not just for the players, but for the fans and all the organizations across all of summer baseball this coming year.”
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org