There are a lot of Major League Baseball players executing admirable endeavors during this COVID-19 hiatus. As was evident Friday night, Mitch Moreland is one of them.
It was a good reminder.
While we spent the week haggling over revenue-sharing arguments while deciphering the good and bad from the video game rants of Blake Snell and Bryce Harper, guys like Moreland are out there.
For starters, while there has been no formal announcement regarding who might take over for Brock Holt as the Red Sox Jimmy Fund spokesman, it certainly appears as though the first baseman -- who already conducts "Christmas in July" with his wife Susannah to help Boston Childrens Hospital -- is on deck.
"We might have to wait and see. But I’m definitely going to try and be more involved with that," Moreland told WEEI.com regarding the formal announcement of becoming Holt's successor.
"Being able to be part of that is going to be extra special. Obviously what Brock and Lakyn and Griff did is special to their communities and special to the Jimmy Fund. If there is any way we can help or carry that along and keep that tradition rolling we’re going to do our best at it. Obviously me and Brock are close so any kind of helps or hints I will need along the way I have is number pretty handy. I’m looking forward to being part of it."
But when it comes to Moreland the perception goes beyond just these charitable acts. He just gets it.
Like so many other major leaguers -- and human beings -- he is riding out this coronavirus-induced hiatus trying to figure out what's what. His days are taken up utilizing a newly-constructed batting cage while keeping three young children entertained via some sort of introduction into his hobby of choice, fishing.
"I have got a lake behind the barn and been fishing a good bit," he said. " Obviously with the kiddos I usually don’t even take a pole because my hands are full with them. I’m just trying to keep the 2-year-old in the boat and keep something on the 7-year-old and 5-year-old’s hook that we can cast so we can maybe catch one. That’s a chore in itself."
There has also been the pond management, dumping a flurry of fish out of his pond and into his kitchen. "I had to clean 88 fish," he said. "We have had a couple of fish fries which has been nice.I think I have enough to feed the whole team once we get back together. I made it out of there with all my fingers too. So we’re good."
But there is also the reality many of his baseball-playing brethren are finding out: preparing for the future is almost more daunting than dealing with the present.
"It has been really tough," Moreland noted. "Obviously seeing some of the stuff over the last week or so, not sure how much of that is believable or not, but it seems like there are more talks being had and a chance that it’s getting close. That kind of gets you excited, gets you fired up. But at the same time it’s just been kind of tough with everything closed down, not being able to have that routine that it kind of takes to have yourself field ready when you get down there and get going down there. I’ve made the most of it here. Had the cage and been able to stay halfway in shape and get some workouts in around here. I feel like I’m not as far as off as I could be at this point if I didn’t have access to that stuff."
But when it comes to finding a sign that Moreland truly has a grasp on the situation it is uncovered in his answer to baseball's possible return.
Moreland doesn't rant about money. And he could very well be exuding a woe-as-me vibe considering this is taking one more year off a career that is heading into his mid-30's, with the only guaranteed season on his current contract dwindling away. But instead when asked about the big picture of baseball, the 34-year-old offers what should be the mission statement for major leaguers everywhere.
"I feel like there is no right answer," he said. "Of course I’m ready to get back and get going. If we could play tomorrow I would be ready for it, but at the same I have a family I’m also trying to keep safe and want to be with throughout these times because you see what it’s done throughout this country and how it has affected a lot of people’s lives. There are rights and wrongs I guess through it all, but the sooner we’re back on the field the better it will be for everybody. At the same time it has got to be in the right circumstances, in the right situation, where we keep everybody healthy. You come to the game to enjoy it and not going home sick or taking it to a family member, relative or a friend after you do it. We just ave to make sure we’re doing it for the right reasons and people get to enjoy baseball and the players do as well."
Well put. Well done.