CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The minor league baseball season has been cancelled but Truist Field is still hosting baseball. The Piedmont Pride of the Southern Collegiate Baseball League are calling uptown Charlotte home for the 2020 season and it is truly a blessing.
The Pride are based out of Rock Hill. So how did they end up at the home of the Knights? There were no regulation size field available in Rock Hill because of the pandemic. Head coach Joe Hudak is the former head coach at Winthrop and has a great relationship with the front office of the Knights. Hudak just pitched the idea to the Knights and they said yes.
“When I told my guys that we were playing here their eyes got big,” said coach Hukak. “They were just smiling all over the place because there’s not a nicer field in the country. There’s not a better skyline at any level than the skyline here. So we are grateful to be playing here.”
“Everyday you walk out the tunnel, you see the view,” said Pride short stop Bennett Smith. “It’s just the same giddy feeling you get every single day.”
The Southern Collegiate Baseball League is a 6 teams and each team is made up of players from all over the country. The majority of the players on the Pride are from North and South Carolina or attend college in the Carolinas.
It is a wooden bat league so it is preparing these guys for days when they could be potentially in minor league baseball. There are numerous collegiate leagues around the country just like this one, but due to the pandemic, a lot have shut down.
“Over half the collegiate leagues have been cancelled,” said coach. “For us to be playing right now and most players are not playing is a real blessing.”
For those not playing, it’s a double whammy after they had their college seasons taken away this past season by COVID-19. The Pride and the other teams in the SCBL are the lucky ones... as long as they can keep coronavirus away.
The players know, a case or two of COVID-19 could end this dream come true of playing at Truist Field and no one wants a replay of what happened to their college season.
“Just understanding the consequences if some of us act irresponsibly and go out to the beach or a certain place where we could contract the virus, what that could mean is all these guys that are playing baseball could never get to play and the summer is cut short just because one of our mistakes,” said Smith.
The SCBL season is only two months but the players have already been tested twice in the first month with no positive cases. The players will be tested again in the very near future. So far they are doing the right things to make sure this summer dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare.