ADAMS TWP — The short season may be the best season.
At least, that's how Chase Rowe is viewing the upcoming professional baseball season, delayed as it may be by the coronavirus outbreak.
Rowe, 36, a Knoch High School and Slippery Rock University graduate, recently spent six weeks in Lakeland, Fla., while beginning his new job as a minor league hitting instructor with the Detroit Tigers.
“We were still in the evaluation process with players when they closed down camp,” Rowe said. “The players who were there were primarily major leaguers, Class AAA and AA guys.
“The first-year, younger prospects I'll be working with are all part of minor league camp. That camp wasn't scheduled to start until March 20.
“Those players were just starting to come in when they had to turn around and go home,” Rowe added.
Now Rowe is home as well, reconnecting with his wife and three children. His wife is a school teacher, so she is home as well.
“I'm just enjoying spending time right now as a family ... unexpected time,” he said. “I don't get this kind of time with them during baseball season.
“For the last 15 years, I haven't been around them much at this time of year. Now I am. That's how I'm choosing to look at this. It's good to be home.”
Rowe spent the previous 13 baseball seasons as head coach at La Roche University, where he won 370 games and eight conference titles.
When the baseball season resumes, Rowe will return to Florida — presumably for four weeks.
“That's my understanding,” he said. “The pitchers are going to need that time to get ready. It will be like a second spring training period. That's what I'm hearing.”
While the major league and full-season minor league campaigns will be trimmed a bit, Rowe figures his team will play its full season.
He will be hitting coach for the Connecticut Tigers, Detroit's affiliate in the Class A short-season New York-Penn League. That team's first game is slated for June 18 at Lowell, Mass.
“I'm not anticipating any delays there,” Rowe said. “Our season should not be affected by this. It will be business as usual.”
He recognizes that the same can't be said for all of baseball.
“The guys I feel badly for are the ones who were down there (Florida) trying to earn a job, looking to prove themselves,” Rowe said. “Cuts will probably be made before guys in that position even get a chance to earn a roster spot somewhere.”
Rowe also says his six weeks of spring training was time well spent.
“No doubt, I learned a lot. It was a nice adjustment period I went through,” he said. “When we go back, I'll know what to expect.
“It was a great experience down there. Just when we were getting everything sorted out with evaluations, just when we were starting to actually coach, it got cut short.
“When camp reopens, we will regroup. I'm still looking forward to the season,” Rowe added.
For him, a likely complete schedule.
“I'm lucky that way,” he said.