Local minor league baseball players return to the field this week

Posted at 9:45 PM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-04 22:50:13-04

HAMPTON, Va. - For many baseball players, the year 2020 has been one long slump.

"There's one thing you learn in baseball: you learn how to fail," former Old Dominion University slugger Vinnie Pasquantino told News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler.

Minor League Baseball players like Pasquantino and Lafayette High School product Andre Lipcius are being 'educated' in the different ways to keep players off the diamond this year.

"It's weird not being able to put on a jersey," Lipcius, a third round MLB Draft selection in 2019 said. "And things don't seem normal just yet."

After the pandemic canceled their minor league seasons, this week Mother Nature reminded the players when it rains, it pours - delaying a scheduled Monday workout at War Memorial Stadium in Hampton.

"This isn't like a real offseason," Pasquantino, an 11th round selection in the 2019 MLB Draft, pointed out. "Because in an normal offseason, you know when you're supposed to report and when you're supposed to be somewhere. But we don't know anything. Nobody knows anything."

These guys are practicing this week, because they are playing this week. Not officially, of course. But Wednesday night and Friday night, a group of area Minor League Baseball players and college standouts will play a pair of 'sandlot style exhibitions' vs. the Peninsula Pilots - a college summer team. You can purchase tickets here. (The contests were orginally scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, but shifted to Wednesday and Friday due to Isaias. Tickets for Tuesday's exhibition will be good for Friday's contest.)

"They're all guys, for the most part, from the area," Lipcius noted. "I know a good bit of players on their team and they know who we are."

"This will be the only time we get to play in front of fans probably until next spring," Paul Hall, a former Maury High School and Virginia Tech standout who is expected to be the starting pitcher in Wednesday's contest, pointed out.

"We're the people in the country that are not playing baseball at the moment," Pasquantino added. "College guys are playing, high school guys are playing. So, this week, it's going to be loose, easy - guys are going to be getting their work in. It's just going to be awesome."

"Awesome" is not a word baseball players would use to describe 2020 thus far.

"I thought about, with all the storm stuff, they might not be able to turn the lights on," Lipcius said smiling. "So, I might just bring an extra generator in my car."

Anything to get back on the field.