Detroit Tigers News

Dan Hasty: Explaining my Leave of Absence from Traverse City Pit Spitters

DETROIT, MI - JULY 05: A detailed view of an official Major League Baseball with a surgical mask placed on it sitting on the dugout during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 5, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JULY 05: A detailed view of an official Major League Baseball with a surgical mask placed on it sitting on the dugout during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 5, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Hey everyone. I hope you and yours are staying healthy during this unpredictable time. As you may have seen, I’ve decided to take a leave of absence from TV broadcasts with the Traverse City Pit Spitters and wanted to explain my reasoning here.

You may be asking yourself…isn’t he the guy from the West Michigan Whitecaps? And you are correct, but of course, without the Whitecaps playing, the hard-to-fathom opportunity was created of helping in Traverse City after the cancellation of the 2020 Minor League Baseball season. The Traverse City Pit Spitters brought a three-team cluster into the area, creating a bubble-concept to ensure safety. In some ways, this parallels what the NBA has been designing in hopes of returning to play.

With the assurances of our local health department supporting them, the Pit Spitters enjoyed a fantastic liftoff of the 2020 season last Wednesday. A few days later, we learned that multiple players from a team within the cluster contracted COVID-19. It merely serves as a reminder that fighting the spread is an ever-changing battle. The Pit Spitters will continue to take every precaution and only restart their season when they’re fully confident that its players are safe. Traverse City is one of many locations the Northwoods League has started playing games this summer, but it’s doubtful they’ll be the only ones forced to pause their season this summer. Pit Spitters General Manager Mickey Graham spoke on the subject during the announcement on Sunday and can give you the proper insight from a front office perspective.

The year 2020 has been difficult for everyone and facing COVID-19 has so many challenges. That’s why I applaud the Pit Spitters for taking the necessary precautions by being proactive instead of reactive and pausing their season due to multiple players testing positive for the coronavirus. I’m incredibly grateful they did everything in their power to ensure a safe and secure playing environment when they began playing last week and loved every second of being in the broadcast booth again. The few days I spent in Traverse City, I took every precaution, limited my interaction, and felt completely safe. Still, the virus came into the equation so fast that it became a significant reality check.

As you may have seen, the pausing of play in Traverse City comes with the plan to restart this Friday. After careful consideration with my family, I decided to take an indefinite leave of absence from the TV broadcasts in Traverse City.

The biggest reason starts with my wife, Angelina, who is eight months pregnant with our first child. If I unknowingly bring the virus home from the ballpark or anywhere else, I can’t support her during delivery, and much worse, she could catch it. If she gets the virus, she’d have to deliver our daughter while wearing a mask, which could cause several complications. Many people face problems far worse than this, but this is how COVID-19 affects our family and its expansion.

A situation like this also needs to reshape our understanding of how sports might look until a COVID-19 vaccine is made readily available. The return of competition needs to be a completely fluid situation, and each moment we get with live sports will come without the guarantee for another.

I want baseball, and all major sports to return as quickly and safely as possible, but we’re still very much in the middle of a global pandemic. Trying to play sports through COVID-19 is like trying to play a game of chess on a speedboat – the board keeps moving, and pieces keep sliding even though no one has made a move. It’s why I have so much respect for the people working 100-hour weeks trying to make it happen.

I wish the Pit Spitters staff good luck and good health as they work tirelessly to give the gift of baseball to Northern Michigan this summer, and I pray for the staffers, coaches, and players working so hard to make it a reality. I’m proud to stand by them during this constantly changing battle. If you’re in Traverse City this summer, and they’re lucky enough to resume play, don’t hesitate to check out a ballgame. Just be sure to follow the teams’ directive and take the proper precautions.

Find Dan on Twitter at @ThatDanHasty!

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