PHILADELPHIA — Bryce Harper texted Rhys Hoskins on Thursday. He congratulated him for hitting a home run for him at Marlins Park.
The Phillies and Marlins were supposed to play each other Thursday on Opening Day in Miami, but the novel coronavirus pandemic postponed the season indefinitely. Instead, Hoskins and Marlins infielder Miguel Rojas played each other in a live stream of MLB The Show on PlayStation. Harper’s solo home run led the way in a 2-0 victory. Anywhere from 1,500 to more than 1,800 watched as the players chatted about their teams, funniest teammates (J.T. Realmuto is sneaky funny), favorite ballparks, and cities and places to eat. (Rojas is a fan of Federal Donuts. He has good taste.)
Of course, Hoskins, Rojas and everybody else wanted to play a real game.
“In that sense, it was weird,” Hoskins said. “It stunk, obviously. But against the backdrop the rest of society is going through, I can’t really complain. We’re healthy and we’re safe. But it was good to have some sort of baseball in our lives today on Opening Day, especially because it was a beautiful day here in Philly. It was fun. Miggy and I had a good time with it.”
Hoskins, his wife, Jayme, and their dog, Rookie, drove from Clearwater, Fla., to Philadelphia on March 17. It was Hoskins’ 27th birthday.
“‘Man, when was the last time that I didn’t play baseball, practice baseball or have something baseball related on my birthday?’” Hoskins asked on the drive. “And I think I have to go back to before high school baseball, for sure. Maybe Little League. I think we used to start Little League on April 1. It was weird.
“For us, as baseball players, we have to go about this as this is another offseason. The only real time frame we have is that eight-week period. So if you work backwards from where I would be eight weeks out from Spring Training, or maybe not Spring Training but at a time where I would have to be ready to play, then that’s kind of where I’m at.”
Spring training Rookie really lives the life. Park, pool, naps, sunset walks & pup cones all day, everyday.
Think he’s happy to be here? pic.twitter.com/hT177Me3HW
— Jayme Hoskins (@jaymehoskins) February 14, 2020
In the meantime, Hoskins is walking Rookie around the neighborhood and trying to stay in baseball shape.
“I try to get outside whether it’s just on the deck that we have when it’s nice,” he said. “I have a few things, weight-room wise, in my garage that I can kind of roll out to the driveway and stay active that way. Just trying to do things to keep the body physically ready. … We’re all kind of in this delay, this eight-week period that the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has put out with the health and safety of the rest of the country in mind. That’s where we're at. I wish I had more information to share with others to give us something to hold onto baseball-wise. But unfortunately, I don’t.”