Keiser University Seahawk baseball team practices aren’t the same these days. Players have not participated in a team workout since the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) cancelled spring athletics on March 20, 2020, and Keiser moved to online course delivery on March 24.
Yet Seahawks coach Brook Fordyce, a former Major League Baseball (MLB) catcher, knew it was important for the players to stay connected as a team during quarantine. He began hosting weekly Zoom meetings with the players and soon invited a few of his former MLB friends and teammates to join.
“I initially invited my former teammate, and good friend, Eduardo Perez to speak with the team,” said Fordyce. “I thought it would be a great morale booster to have a former MLB player speak to our Keiser baseball players.”
Since then, the Seahawks baseball team has spoken with Fordyce’s former Baltimore Orioles teammate, and Cy Young Award winner, Pat Hentgen. The team was also joined by former MLB outfielder Johnny Damon, a two-time MLB All-Star and World Series Champion.
The KU squad recognize the uniqueness of this opportunity. The former MLB players have stressed the importance of hard work and perseverance, both on the field and in the classroom, in their discussions with the KU student athletes.
“You can really hear the passion in their voices,” said senior outfielder Niko Petrides. “They have really inspired us to exercise the same passion they have.”
Prior to the season’s cancellation, the Seahawks were ranked #15 on the NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll. Members of the team have stayed in shape with individual workouts at home throughout the spring semester. But the group looks forward to the opportunity to reunite and use what they’ve learned from the pros to help achieve their goals in 2021.
“We have a great bond and comradery,” said Petrides. “And we all have one goal in mind and are pushing ourselves individually and as a team to reach that goal.”