In our current circumstance, specific health protocols must be followed by foreigners entering the United States. The reverse is also true as realized by Fort Loramie’s Jared Hoying in his return for a third season of South Korean professional baseball.
One of three Americans on his Hanwha Eagles, Hoying was summoned to his place of employment about three weeks ago. Jared’s journey revealed largely quiet airports in the United States and somewhat regular activity when landing in South Korea. It looked like business as usual. This reinforced what he’d been told about the coronavirus situation being farther toward conclusion than back home.
His team’s interpreter/liaison for American players rushed him to the seasonal residence they provide for a 14 day quarantine which has just ended. This team employee was Hoying’s only human contact for the entire two weeks of confinement. He delivered groceries and carryout food like subs and pizza, along with other basics and some limited workout gear. Trash removal was also on his expansive list of services. Obviously, there was no true baseball activity in those confines, replaced instead by extra sit-ups and push-ups.
Following winter workouts and team spring training in Arizona, Jared felt great and was ready for another season. Then everything was put on hold and he headed back home before the recent scenario unfolded. He’s now rejoined his team and is back on the field.
“I’m in good overall shape but need to get the baseball part flowing again,” he said earlier this week.
When will the Korean Baseball Organization begin its 2020 season? “Our original schedule said March 24 and it’s been moved (at least twice) since then. The current version now says early May. Who knows?”
“I live on the 16th floor and have a great view of the city (Daejeon). Streets and sidewalks are busy. Playgrounds are full with kids. It looks normal to me but that may not be the case around the entire country including Seoul (north),” the outfielder and Shelby County’s first major leaguer added.
Jared will turn 31 on May 18. He hopes the KBO season is underway by then and that his family has been able to join him. Until then it’s largely a lonely waiting game.
Whether in Ohio or over 6000 miles away, we all would like to return to normal.
Sports Extra appears each Friday. Dave Ross has followed the baseball exploits of Jared Hoying since high school.