I’ve continually followed the baseball career of Fort Loramie’s Jared Hoying but am now writing more about it to reveal what’s happening with coronavirus in an area whose timeline is ahead of ours.
Jared is an outfielder with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization who began his third season with exhibition games on Tuesday. At the moment KBO is playing without fans in its regular ballparks.
The current situation in South Korea makes me optimistic about what’s coming here. New coronavirus cases have almost ceased in South Korea. I’m told by a solid source to trust their numbers. The new regular season opening day is Tuesday, May 5. The country appears headed to normalcy.
Jared refers to the current competition as “scrimmages.” “It’s so quiet compared to our regular enthusiastic crowds. The media can hear everything said on the field. Postgame media interviews are confined to the manager with him on the field and reporters in the stands. Players don’t wear masks but everyone else does. But it’s good to finally play baseball against other teams.”
Some interesting regulations are in place including a ban on barehanded high fives, handshakes, and spitting, but enforcement and penalties are problematic. “If I sprint from first to third, my instinct is to spit when I stop,” he said. Hoying foresees a modified set of standards when the season opens. At that point, longer travel and hotel stays will also be part of the mix.
It doesn’t appear that American major leagues could begin the regular season before July, creating many holes in broadcasting program schedules. ESPN is talking to the KBO about carrying some of their games. Korea is 13 hours ahead of us. Many games begin at 5:30am back here. Maybe a hybrid of “live” and delayed will happen.
I’ve been both amazed and gratified with the response to last Friday’s column on the passing of former Holy Angels and Lehman basketball coach Jerry DeLong. I heard from his former players and students along with an old neighbor from the Dingman neighborhood. Many members of the Lehman community also chimed in. That group included current Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst who told me of his final visit with the man he deeply respected.
Retired Dayton sportswriter and Fort Loramie native Bucky Albers recounted Jerry shooting hoops in the Albers driveway. DeLong often journeyed beyond Sidney for a pickup game.
We will miss the man known as the “Mayor of Tawawa Park.”
Sports Extra appears each Friday. Dave Ross is a local sports historian and a Past President of the Shelby County Historical Society.