BALTIMORE, Md. — Austin Hays is one of the Baltimore Orioles’ rising stars.
The 24-year-old was in line to make his first Major League opening day roster as the O’s center fielder. That’s now on hold because of the coronavirus outbreak.
"It’s frustrating mentally but also, when you look at it in a different perspective that, there’s people out there that their loved ones are getting sick and they can’t even go visit them in the hospital or even be around them," he said. "It kind of puts all of that into the back seat and just makes you think about your family and how much you love your family."
Hays loves his grandmother. She’s recovering from back issues. For now he’s staying away for safety.
"Since all this stuff has gone on I haven’t seen her in person. So, I know there are a lot of stories like that out there," said Hays.
Like most, health is on the top of his mind. His profession is a close second. He has been improvising workouts to stay sharp. Last week in Florida he got together with Orioles teammates Dwight Smith Jr. and Cedric Mullins.
"We’re using the back fields at the high school, bringing our own baseballs that are all chewed up," said Hays.
Hays is hunkered down with his wife just outside of Daytona, Fla. That’s the way it will stay until baseball resumes. And when that happens it will be a blessing in more ways than one.
What does he think it’s going to mean for the country and society when baseball actually has its opening day?
"I think it’s going to be great for everybody. It kind of symbolizes being able to all be around each other again, to leave your homes, to take your kids, your loved ones, your parents, elders out to a baseball game and just enjoy it, smile, have a good time. I think it’s just going to be great for everybody - for us, for the fans, for our families."
For now... we wait.