ATLANTA - Along with many dates marked in calendars for athletes and sports fans this spring, the Minor League Baseball Opening Day for full-season leagues has been put on hold as well.
Stockbridge High product Michael Harris was drafted in the third round by his hometown Braves almost one year ago, so this would have been his first full offseason complete with spring training as he learns the ropes in professional baseball.
"It's kind of weird," Harris told FOX 5 Sports earlier this month. "And for it being my first spring training, I didn't expect it to go this way. I was just getting rolling, I was feeling good, and we were about to start playing games, but we have to stay home."
The 19-year-old outfielder was set to play with the Rome Braves, Atlanta's Class A affiliate. On Thursday, minor league teams were marking what would have been their opening days with a #MiLBAtHomeOpener campaign on social media, similar to the big league's online Opening Day fanfare.
"There's kind of nothing that can get your mind off of it," Harris said. "I was so ready for that date to open up a new season, start a full season for ourselves and my team. I was just ready for April 9th, and I know it's going to be a great day (when it does come)."
Harris said he works out every day to stay in shape for whenever he has to report back, but it's been a trying time. Even when he turns on the TV, he says it's still weird that MLB Network and ESPN aren't showing baseball or any live sports. He's taken to the web to watch old highlights. He's also escaped with video games like NBA 2K20, Madden NFL 20, Fortnite and MLB The Show 20.
Whenever officials give the green light for teams again, Harris said "I'd think it would be mandatory" to have another spring training-like camp for players, coaches and staff to be fully ready for games.
"I think it's necessary to have another mini spring training just to get everybody flowing again as a team and getting used to the baseball environment again," he said.
Harris, rated as Atlanta's No. 14 prospect, played 53 games between the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Braves and Rome Braves last season, batting .277 with a .344 on-base percentage.