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Local Minor League Baseball Players Hit Pause on the Game, but Not the Dream

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Major League Baseball season will start next week, but the same can’t be said about Minor League Baseball. Two baseball players from Stafford found themselves looking at the canceled MiLB season and an unexpected summer back home.

“I went out to spring training in Arizona with the Dodgers for six days,” said Dodgers prospect Jimmy Titus, who grew up in Stafford and graduated from East Catholic High School.

“I was there I think for two weeks exactly,” said Josh Simpson, who is also from Stafford and in the Marlins system.

Titus and Simpson are longtime friends and travel ball teammates. They were ready to go their separate ways for their second seasons of minor league ball.

“I along with everyone else was thinking we'll just come back in two, two weeks, a month,” said Titus. “Obviously that's not the case.”

Instead, four months later, the uncertainties are still just as unclear.  

“I can't get another job because I don't know when I’m going to go back,” said Titus. “I can't file for unemployment because I'm technically under contract.”

But there is one thing they can do: coach.

“When I heard about this opportunity from my high school coach, I mean, I had to take it,” said Titus.

He and Simpson are leading the Manchester Eagles, a college summer team in the Connecticut Collegiate Baseball League.

“It gives you a different lens at the game,” said Simpson. “I've never really been at this side of the field.”

They’ve found the silver lining in a cloudy situation.

“I never would have thought that, the guy who I was playing Little League with, we would both go and get drafted the same year and then start coaching together at the same time,” said Titus.

“Whether it's a physical thing of working out with one another or just mentally kind of talking through what's going to happen it's been huge,” said Simpson.

While neither are sure exactly what’s next, they are thankful to the people who are helping them through, including Major League stars like David Price and Derek Jeter.

The former Red Sox ace gave each minor leaguer in the Dodgers system (Price’s new team) $1,000, while Jeter, who now owns the Marlins, was the first owner to come out and say they’d be paying their minor league players through August.

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