GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – A once quiet and empty Fluor Field has quickly become full of activity as Upstate natives and professional baseball players descend on the minor league stadium to continue offseason training.
“It’s been great to have some major leaguers, some minor leaguers take advantage of the facility being open for them to come work out [and] take some batting practice, throw on the field, get some workouts in,” said Greenville Drive General Manager Eric Jarinko
“We’re just coming here and getting our arms up and trying to stay in shape for the season whenever, and if that ever, comes around,” added John Parke, a former USC Gamecock and Greenville High School graduate. He’s the latest to utilize the facility after former teammates Adam Hill and Cody Morris trained there last week.
“Obviously this ball park is gorgeous,” said Parke. “I’ve played here since high school. And it’s just a beautiful field, beautiful atmosphere and being in Greenville itself on a day like today is something special. So to be able to come to an empty park with some friends and family and get some work in, it’s just a really nice opportunity for us.”
As a pitcher in the White Sox organization, Parke, like many others, was sent back home after a short two weeks of spring training.
“When that was taken away from me it’s like you lost your identity for a little bit,” Parke said. “Like when you leave for spring training it’s ‘this is my job, this is what I have to do.’ And coming home it’s a different feeling. It’s one of those things where you have to maintain your mental strength of being ready.”
Having a ballpark to train at makes the transition easier. The fact that it’s a short drive away for most is an added bonus.
“There’s always been a rich history of baseball in the Upstate,” Jarinko said. “And when you factor in how many guys call Greenville and the Upstate home during the offseason and thing like that, that’s what’s made the ballpark available to those guys.”
And on a week where major league play was set to begin, all that remains is a hope for baseball’s return, something Parke is confident in.
“There will be baseball it’s just a question of when, but it’s going to be a different season.”