Local minor leaguer rolling with the punches as season is pushed back

Rich Donnelly
Updated: March 26, 2020 10:52 PM
Created: March 26, 2020 10:46 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The peanuts and cracker jacks will have to wait at least for now.

Thursday was supposed to be opening day for Major League Baseball, something that's celebrated nation-wide with parades that bring out hundreds of thousands of people in cities like Cincinnati.

Right now an entire sport, along with practically the entire world, is forced to wait. That includes one particular minor league prospect from Rochester.

Ernie Clement has been winning baseball games for a long time, first as a star for the Brighton Barons in high school, then a national championship with Virginia in college.

Drafted in the 4th round by the Cleveland Indians in 2017, he's started a climb through the minor leagues. But now, like the rest of his sport, he's forced to wait.

"It's a little crazy,” Clement said. “I'm just waiting to hear the next word and next steps, so for now I just have to stay ready."

And that's staying ready for another promising season in the minors, Clement has risen to a higher level in the minors every year since turning pro.

"I ended the season strong last year, they have a good group of guys in the big league club so I'm just going to be where my feet are and take care of business like that wherever that may be.  I'm going to play my butt off in whatever level I'm playing," Clement said.

To fill the void of an opening day without baseball, Major League Baseball is showing classic games from every team like Opening Day in 1996 when Derek Jeter hit his first career home run... it's something that even the ballplayers are watching.

"I know us players are itching to get back out there, so that's a nice thing to have on tv so we can watch some baseball and feel like this isn't going on."

Over the past few days there have been discussions about playing a full 162 game schedule and finishing the major league season as late as December.  It's a proposition that's intriguing to Clement.

"I think that'd be great, it'd be interesting to have a baseball game played around Christmas time,” Clement said “I know there's a couple other major sports going around that time and I think it's really interesting to see what the next move is for them. 162 games being played through the fall and the winter would be very interesting.  If they do a shortened season then it turns into a sprint more than the marathon that the 162 game season is, so it would change a lot."

No one knows for sure when we get back to normal, but players like Clement just can't wait to play ball.

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