Former Mason Baseball Players’ professional seasons postponed due to Pandemic
Cody Allgor | Staff Writer
A play that nobody saw coming.
Recently, a few former Comet baseball players have reached professional baseball. Two of the select few are former Comets Nick Northcut and Connor McVey. Both Northcut and McVey were about to begin their preseason when the effects of COVID-19 caused the league to push back the season until further notice, forcing Northcut and McVey to return to their families.
Northcut was a senior on the 2017-2018 Comet team, helping lead Mason to a state final four appearance. After his senior year concluded, Northcut was drafted straight out of high school to the Boston Red Sox in the 11th round of the 2018 draft. Northcut said that he and his teammates were already at the Red Sox spring training facilities when the effects of the pandemic heightened.
“Before we found out the season was going to be pushed back, we were all at spring training,” Northcut said. “We had meetings often about what was going on with the virus, but once everything started closing, they sent us all home. That’s when we realized how real everything was and how this was going to put a hold on our season.”
McVey was a part of the 2012-2013 Comets as a senior, a team that was undefeated in the regular season and only lost in the semifinal of the regional tournament. McVey then spent five years as a Cincinnati Bearcat after redshirting a year. The Milwaukee Brewers then signed him in 2018. McVey said that the Brewers’ Organization has been very charismatic towards the safety and well being of their players.
“The Brewers have done more than enough to make sure we are taken care of,” McVey said. “We get weekly calls from strength coaches, trainers, and team coaches, just making sure we are in the loop. They check to make sure we have no symptoms. They are compensating us before we play a game, which helps the minor leaguers, most importantly.”
Still being connected with others is important during this time of social distancing. Northcut said that the players are being cared for by Red Sox staff and that the players and coaches have adopted Zoom as part of their routine.
“We are in daily communication with our athletic trainers regarding our health and how our family is doing,” Northcut said. “It’s hard not being around your boys and coaches every day competing, but we have Zoom video chats where we do mindfulness meetings and also just catch up with our teammates and coaches to see what everyone has been up to.”
With many social distancing orders being into effect due to COVID-19, many facilities are closed because they haven’t been deemed an ‘essential business.’ McVey says that the Brewers are countering this by having their players workout through technology.
“Staying prepared for the season has been difficult as you have no access to a weight room or hitting facility as they are closed,” McVey said. “So you have to get creative, and the Brewers have strength coaches sending workouts through an app where they demonstrate at-home workouts. For hitting, you have to find somewhere you can get some swings in even if it’s off the tee.”
Along with the physical part of the game, a lot of sports have other aspects as well. Northcut said that along with working out, he has made sure to study the game and work on the mental side of baseball.
“I try to stay in my routine as much as possible,” Northcut said. “I’ve been able to get workouts in at home and find places to train with my dad. I’ve also been studying a lot about the game and watching a ton of film and listening to a lot of podcasts and books about the mental game.”
For many, positives can come out of a lot of situations, even this one. McVey said that COVID-19 has allowed him to spend more time with loved ones while also improving his game.
“One positive thing to take away is that this situation has allowed me to get outside more and spend time with my family and my wife,” McVey said. “A baseball positive is that it allows just a little more time to be prepared even if it’s a couple of small things to sharpen up.”
The pandemic has left people around the globe with suddenly open schedules. Northcut said that he is taking the extra time and using it to his advantage to challenge himself and to use it as a learning opportunity.
“I look at this as an opportunity for me to gain an advantage with my training,” Northcut said. “Having all this time on our hands now, you start to learn things about yourself that you probably wouldn’t have noticed in the normal flow of things, but I try to find ways to challenge myself and learn as much as I can every day.”
Photos taken by Tanner Pearson and contributed by the Milwuakee Brewers.