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HERNANDO, Miss. — These are strange times for everyone, especially for professional athletes like Austin Riley.
“It’s weird, I don’t remember the last time I wasn’t playing baseball in April and May, even when I was a little kid, I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t. So being at home sitting with nothing to do, I’ve been driving myself crazy,” said Austin Riley.
Instead of being a month into the season, Riley’s stuck reminiscing on the sport he loves.
“Those bus ride, the hotel, just waiting to play the next game, you take that for granted when you are with them everyday. That’s the biggest thing I miss, the clubhouse, being with the guys everyday and like I said playing in front of a bunch of fans,” said Riley.
Riley was in the middle of a solid spring training with the Atlanta Braves when the sporting world stopped, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All the stuff that I’ve worked through in the offseason, started to click. I was on a roll, strike outs were down, walks were up, so I was kind of depressed spring training was being cut short because I was doing so well,” said Riley.
With the start of the MLB season unknown, this is the only baseball Austin can get. As he comes to this batting cage about 4-5 times a week, just to stay fresh.
“All I am doing is treating it like an offseason without the specific day that we report, cause we don’t know that yet. Just trying to say consistent with my routine, my swing and working out,” said Riley.
And since he hasn’t heard anything from the league, when he’s not training, Riley, like the rest of us, is checking on scenarios on social media.
“Nothing. It’s crazy. You hear the stuff on twitter, instagram all that but nothing has been definite with a start date, when we are going to report, it’s all still up in the air,” said Riley.
And just because the season has lost time that doesn’t mean Riley is losing hope.
“I think there will be a season, I don’t know when, I don’t know how long, or what kind of scenario-type season it will be but I do think there will be a season. I feel like at some point we have to get to a regular life style but as we sit here right now, it’s up in the air. You got to do your part and stay the social distancing, stay safe until we get this thing under control,” said Riley.
Until then, the offseason continues.