BOSTON (CBS) — Baseball fans don’t have many options to go see a game in person this year. There are no minor league games to be seen, with the season officially canceled on Tuesday. New England colleges were canceled after just a few games.
There is only one league in town where you can see some future stars shine: The Futures Collegiate Baseball League. The season gets underway Thursday in Nashua, but there are four local teams for fans to check out — eventually.
It’s a huge undertaking, with 39 games in seven weeks. But these local college stars are — as expected — pretty excited.
“It was so great to hear that we were going to play and there was a commitment to playing,” said Cedric Gillette, a pitcher for the North Shore Navigators who attends Merrimack College. “Things are a little different and we have to follow some rules, but I’m just so excited.”
“I’m excited because our first game is in two days, so I’m really getting into that mentality of getting to play a baseball game, which is awesome,” explained Sean Lawlor, who attends UMaine and roams the outfield for the Navigators.
With other leagues canceled, you wonder if there was any fear or anxiety with these players — not only facing fastballs, but also battling through a pandemic.
“If you asked me that question a couple of months ago, I would have said yes. But over the past couple of weeks, especially being around the guys, it has died down a little bit,” said Sal Frelick, a BC student and outfielder for North Shore. “I think everyone came in a little anxious, but now we’re just focused on baseball.”
“I really don’t want to get the virus, but I’m not really nervous anymore,” added Cody Morisette, a fellow BC Eagle and infielder for the Navigators. “We’re on a field, we’re socially distancing.
Lawlor, of Boca Raton, Florida, is the reigning Futures League MVP. He is living with the same host family he did last summer.
“She was so happy for me to come back and it’s been awesome,” he said. “I’m doing what I can, she’s doing what she can and we’re getting through it together.”
Meanwhile, players understand that the top priority at the moment is safety.
“We take great precautions here; everybody social distances and wears a mask and does the right thing,” said infielder Alex Brickman, who attends Dayton. “It’s a pretty safe opportunity.”
Fans will be allowed to check out the Navigators at Frasor Field in Lynn when Massachusetts enters Phase 3 — hopefully on Tuesday. The Navigators are hoping to fill about 25 percent of the stadium when the time comes.
“Just follow all the protocol and we’ll try to put on a show,” said Brickman.