Bobby Witt Jr.’s professional baseball career began nearly a year ago, and at the time, he couldn’t have been happier.
“Wow," Witt said in June 2019. "I kind of still feel like I’m dreaming, but dreams really do come true. So I’m excited.”
But that excitement turned to sadness shortly after he arrived at Royals Spring Training in Surprise, Arizona.
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“I was really prepared for my first Spring Training and got things going, got my feet wet just starting it off and then all this stuff happened,” he said.
The former Colleyville Heritage High School standout is referring to COVID-19, which put baseball, and the rest of the world, on an indefinite hold.
“It’s been hard really because this would have been my first full season, 140 games I’d prepared for and I was really ready to get after it," Witt said.
But now, Witt is relegated to Zoom meetings with the Royals each week, and he follows a strict workout regimen provided by the club.
As for hitting? That’s where his father, former Major League pitcher Bobby Witt Sr., helps by lobbing baseballs to his son in the front yard of their home.
“I’ve just been doing little soft toss into a net out in the front yard and then been able to play catch and just take some ground balls whenever, so just been doing that and just really trying to stay ready,” Witt said.
But ready for what and when?
“The minor leaguers will definitely have something that they do, whether it’s like a long, extended Spring Training, or just like an instructional league type deal where you’re doing a lot of intrasquads or something also, but that’d just be a sign of hope just to get the major league season going if they do, even without fans or if they’re doing it in Arizona or Florida of wherever," Witt said.
He's hoping for a chance to play the game he loves now more than ever.
“It’s made me love the game even more if that was even possible," Witt said. "Not playing, I think it’s going to do a lot of that to a lot of other players. It shows that you pretty much never really know when life’s going to throw you a curve ball, so that’s why you pretty much play every game like it’s your last because you never know when something like this could happen.”