I originally had another topic chosen for today but it’s been moved to the “back burner” after a surprising email I received from Fort Loramie’s Jared Hoying on Tuesday morning. He was in Chicago en route to South Korea for a third season in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) with the Hanwha Eagles. I was shocked that anyone was flying to that part of the world.
Having completed most of spring training in the Phoenix area, Hoying was back home with his wife and two children waiting for at least a moderation and stabilization of the worldwide coronavirus. He then planned to make the journey and arrive two weeks before a rescheduled opening day. KBO was originally set to start on Tuesday March 24, two days before American MLB openers that are also delayed indefinitely.
However, his employer had other ideas and wanted the entire team together and working out while also eliminating any problems with last minute travel for their three American players. “Though I wanted to stay home (for the time being), my team made it clear that I needed to get there quickly (so I went),” Jared said from O’Hare Airport. As for the Coronavirus in South Korea he says “it seems to be getting better over there.”
After he arrived at a busy airport in that Pacific Rim country, Hoying reported long lines at customs, more than usual paperwork/procedures, and a temperature check.
Back in 2016 the outfielder became Shelby County’s first ever major leaguer as he played parts of two seasons with the Texas Rangers. He says he feels great and wants to play a few more years. With two young children, his family won’t join him until there’s more certainty of safety related to the virus.
Also anxious for a return to baseball normalcy is North Star native Craig Stammen who will enter his fourth season in the San Diego Padres bullpen with a new two year contract. After spring training in the same area as Hoying, Craig has returned to San Diego with his wife and two young children to await the 2020 season. He pitched well in spring training games including one contest I caught on the MLB Network. Overall he was quite sharp especially with breaking pitches. “I’m ready and we should be a contender,” he recently offered.
I’m a big fan of both of these guys along with the Cincinnati Reds. I’m very ready to get back to the baseball normalcy I cited earlier. In the meantime I’m watching lots of MLBN along with vintage Reds games on Fox Sports Ohio. These Reds replays are fun for Reds fans since they never lose any of the selected contests…. unless they decide to show the classic game six of the 1975 World Series.
Sports Extra appears each Friday. Dave Ross has been a contributor to the Sidney Daily News since 1975.