Matt Simpson is playing the waiting game.
The Chemainus baseball product would rather be playing the game of baseball like he’s always done throughout the spring and summer, but is left wondering when the 2020 season might get off the ground due to the COVID-19 situation.
“I’m not really used to having this much free time, especially this time of the year,” Simpson conceded. “I’m usually five days a week playing baseball; Vancouver every other weekend.”
Simpson, 18, a 2019 Chemainus Secondary School grad and co-valedictorian of the class, spent two seasons commuting to Nanaimo to be part of the Mid-Island Junior Pirates before joining the Mid-Island Senior Pirates for a highly-productive 2019 season in the B.C. Premier Baseball League.
His big opportunity to reach the next level for baseball and schooling in the United States was on the horizon, but it’s almost fortunate it didn’t materialize at this time with New York state being such a hot spot for COVID.
“We dodged a bullet just before COVID,” noted mom Leanne. “He was all almost set to go to New York to Houghton College and then COVID and the price almost doubled because of the exchange. I’m glad it worked out the way it did. This momma was a little bit grateful.”
“I’d been talking to a few schools,” explained Simpson. “Houghton was a serious one I was thinking about.”
The Pirates use an App called FieldLevel that allows players to put their personal profiles, Grade Point Average information, highlight videos and more out there for the consideration of college baseball teams looking for talent.
“College coaches can follow you and track what you’ve been doing,” said Simpson. “Most coaches contact players.”
For now, he’s decided to take his second year of the Bachelor of Education program at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island University campus and see how things go from there.
“There’s still a lot more time,” said Simpson of considerations for future advancement in baseball.
The Pirates topped the BCPBL’s regular season standings in 2019 in longtime manager Doug Rogers’ final campaign with a 38-10 record, but lost in the playoff finals to the North Shore Twins.
Larson Bauck is now the field boss of the Pirates and everyone’s anxious to get going.
“Our coach has been sending out workouts for us to do,” Simpson noted.
That includes timed 5K runs, with results sent in by the players to the coach.
Time is of the essence for the BCPBL to salvage a shortened season because players going on to the U.S. college ranks normally have to leave for their destinations during August.
“They’ve sent out a few updates,” Simpson indicated. “We haven’t really heard anything about a plan yet.
“They’re talking about shortening the season to a month or two.”
All Simpson can do is be ready for the time to start playing again by continually working out on his own.
“I had a regular routine I was doing outside my gym,” he pointed out.
Anytime Fitness in Chemainus reopened last Monday, allowing Simpson to go back there for workouts.
He’s also been playing catch with a friend and working on his hitting off a tee by himself, “just to kind of keep my swing together – that it doesn’t fall apart,” Simpson said.
“Not much else you can do.”
Further down the road, he’s keeping his baseball options open amid all the uncertainty.
“There’s other schools I’m taking to also,” Simpson said.