BLACKFOOT – Ever wonder what a high school athlete goes through as they get ready for college when they may be forced into the limelight early in their collegiate career? Especially during a time like now, with the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be ruling the whole world of sports in many differing ways.
Kyle Karros is the senior son of former Major League Player Eric Karros who played for 14 years in the majors, the first twelve of them with the Los Angeles Dodgers, before finishing up with the Chicago Cubs and the Oakland A’s.
He was named the Rookie of the Year in 1992 after hitting .257 with 20 home runs and 88 runs batted in. He also won a Silver Slugger award during his career and manned first base for the Dodgers for a dozen years. He knows a thing or two about planing baseball in the Majors.
Eric’s son Kyle, a senior at Manhattan Beach Mira Costa was a highly sought after prospect for this year in college, but sadly has seen his freshman year taken down by the COVID-19 pandemic. He has had to resort to working out at home with the campus closed to all students during this troubling time.
It doesn’t mean that he hasn’t been able to work out and he does so with his older brother and his Dad every day.
Throughout the spring, a season that was cut short by the widespread pandemic, Kyle has been working diligently, but before the season was stopped, he still managed to hit .400 for eight games and things were looking pretty good for the precocious youngster.
His brother, Jared, is a pitcher at UCLA and he was also looking forward to a very productive and solid year this year with the Bruins looking to advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska in June. All of those plans are a thing of the past at this point in time.
Kyle has been playing third base and expects that he will also play some first base before his collegiate career is over.
Following are some excerpts from an L.A. Times article written by Eric Sondheimer of the LA Times.
“That’s the toughest pill to swallow, the fact I’m not going to be able to go out on the field and play with my best friends since I was 8 years old.”
On the advantage of having his father and brother available to work out with:
“My brother and I will throw together. With my dad, I’ve got my hitting coach in my quarantine group. I’ve got a spot to hit in the home. I’ve got a spot to lift weights. I couldn’t ask for a better setup to get through this.”
On his father’s major league career:
“Any time there’s a game on the Dodger channel that he’s playing in, he always gets the family around because me and my brother never got to see him play. He’ll fast forward and make sure he stops on his at-bats if it’s a home run. He’ll provide the instructional part of the video, pause it and go frame by frame.”
The toughest thing for the young Karros brothers to get used to has been working without team-mates. In the case of Kyle, that includes players who have been playing with each other since they were eight years old.
“It’s the games and the lack of teammates. I can still work out and do a lot of things sports-related, but I’m really lacking that team energy being without my best friends.”
The pandemic has also got him doing some new things, like working on puzzles.
“I’m doing puzzles. I’m trying to finish 1,000-piece puzzles in six hours. I’m getting good. It entertains me. It’s relaxing. It challenges me.”
“I definitely see a nice three-year career at UCLA, getting drafted and riding out baseball. My thing is play baseball, love the game.”
“After baseball, well that is up in the air. If I am good enough, I hope that I will get the chance to play professional ball, but I want to be a good student as well, so that I will have those opportunities as well.”
For now, the young Karros brothers are enjoying each other’s company, working on their games and utilizing a built in coach in their Dad to take the place of the college scene.
Only time will tell if they will be good enough to play down the road, but you can bet on one thing. Eric Karros has been there and done that and if he is able, he will push his sons in the direction of success in the Major Leagues as well.
It only seems like the thing to do during this COVID-19 pandemic.