LOUISA NATIVE AMD MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PITCHER CHANDLER SHEPHERD KEEPS UP HOPE BY WAITING, WORKING, FOR THE UPCOMING SHORTENED 2020 PRO BASEBALL SEASON…(MAYBE)
SHEPHERD CALLED UP FROM MINOR LEAGUE AND EARNED HIS PRO DEBUT IN 2019 WITH THE BALTIMORE ORIOLES
JUNE 28, 2020 – written by WADE QUEEN
CHANDLER SHEPHERD: LOUISA NATIVE AND MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PITCHER FOR THE BALTIMORE ORIOLES
On Tuesday evening, June 23, Major League Baseball officials and team owners made an agreement with the players union, after a lengthy period of hard negotiations, to try and salvage the 2020 pro baseball season. The season has been in limbo before it could even start, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic when players were in the final days of spring training that began in February and were playing spring training games in the run up to the season opening on March 26, but MLB officials announced on March 12 that the remainder of spring training games were canceled and that the start of the regular season would be delayed by at least two weeks, only to have four days later, MLB announced that the season would be postponed indefinitely, following recommendations from the CDC.
As of the planned schedule for now, would see the playing of a 60-game season. which is scheduled to begin on July 23 and is scheduled to end on September 27. The postseason will begin on September 29. The World Series is set to begin on October 20 and a potential Game 7 will be played on October 28. The entire schedule is to be released at an unspecified future date.
However even before the agreement was made, amidst a major spike in cases in Arizona and Florida, including positive cases among staff of the Phillies, and a Blue Jays player showing signs of symptoms, it was reported on June 19 that all spring training sites would be temporarily closed for deep cleaning, and all players would be required to test negative for COVID-19 before entering. It was then reported on June 20 that almost all MLB teams had elected to relocate their training camps back to their home cities.
Now, just only over the recent several days since after the season schedule was made and announced, the coronavirus epidemic is now skyrocketing again in all but 2 states. In a related development, the National Basketball Association (NBA), which was trying to resume their season after it, too, was halted in March, in the last few days it was reported that already at 5% percent of NBA players had tested positive just from practice training of the teams.
This new and suddenly worsening development, if it is not dampened down in the next couple of weeks, it raises the spectre of the 2020 MLB season to be in a historic move by totally cancelled, along with the NBA and NHL seasons done, like all college sports ( and middle & high schools) in the U.S were done this past spring and threatens fall sports of all kinds at all levels.
For regards for professional baseball players, one of those players affected by the pandemic crisis is a former native from Lawrence County.
Earlier this month, before the current MLB agreement, Louisa native Chandler Shepherd did an interview where he discussed how the COVIID-19 crisis had impacted his life and what actions he was doing to stay in shape, as well as to earn some income as well.
Chandler Shepherd made his Major League debut in 2019 with the Baltimore Orioles. But now Shepherd’s career is on hold due to COVID-19 and no deal between the MLB and Players Association on when to return (at the time of this interview) with WYMT SPORTS GUY WILLIE HOPE.
“So once we left, you know we came home from spring training. It was a couple weeks that went by, it was basically like, O.K. well I gotta find something to do,” Shepherd said.
With COVID-19 halting baseball and sports in general, Chandler Shepherd had to turn to other fields to make money.
“I’m getting into some construction business a little bit,” Chandler Shepherd said. “Just trying to stay busy, have some money coming in.”
All the while, Chandler Shepherd is still doing what he can to stay ready for the possibility of an MLB season.
“Right now, the challenge is just being able to find buildings or finding anywhere to workout and train while this is going on,” Shepherd continued.
As the NBA, NHL and NASCAR all have plans in place or have returned already, Chandler Shepherd’s wait continues with no one in the majors seeing eye to eye. However, Shepherd isn’t focused on that.
“I feel like if I sit around every day and stress out about it and start worrying, you know I just feel like that doesn’t stop anything for me,” Shepherd said. “So I’m just trying to relax and then trying to take a positive out of it that I spend time with my family and stuff like that.”
The 2011 Lawrence County High School graduate had five appearances in 2019, including three starts. His Major League debut came against the New York Yankees on August 13, 2019. He started his first game more than a month later on September 17 against the Toronto Bluejays. Shepherd went four innings with four strikeouts and gave up three earned runs.
Chandler Shepherd was selected originally by the Boston Red Sox in the 13th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of after being a three year player for University of Kentucky Wildcats. Shepherd started his professional career in 2014 with the Class A Short Season Lowell Spinners, where he was 4–3 with a 4.05 ERA in 16 games, working mostly as a long reliever in 33⅓ innings.
Time will tell if Chandler Shepherd, and the rest of Major League Baseball for that matter, will get to have the chance to play for, at least for a shortened season, the lowest number of planned games since 1878; all of which depends now on how the significant return rise of the coronavirus and the fallout that will stem from it, and what actions will be taken to curtail in the next two to three weeks that will ultimately affect for any 2020 baseball season; and the rest of American sports for the rest of this year.