Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Logan Darnell was planning to coach baseball at McQuaid Jesuit. He returned to Rochester after being released from the Mexican League in February, where he and his wife Megan live.
Darnell had no intention of playing this season, until he received a text from an agent asking if he would be interested in playing for the Chinese Professional Baseball League. On April 29, the former Red Wings pitcher signed with the Uni-President Lions as the team’s fourth foreign player.
“When I got here, it was 14 days in a hotel room no question,” said Darnell. “Once I was done, I was getting my temperature checked three times a day.”
Just two days after he was released from his mandatory quarantine, he met up with his former pitching coach, Stu Cliburn, a pitching coach in the CPBL. He took the mound in front of an empty crowd a few days later. Two weeks ago, the league began introducing fans, 1000 per game, socially distanced and in masks. Last week, an additional 1000 fans were permitted into ballparks.
“It’s not a feeling of full fans and cheering. but it’s enough where it’s starting to get back to normal for sure,” said Darnell.
Back in Rochester, Meg is working at Strong as an occupational therapist. She is living with the couple’s three dogs and expecting their first child. Darnell plans on flying home to be there for the birth in July.
“It’s one of those things where when we talked about it, if you make decisions out of fear or worry, you’re not doing it with a clear mind,” said Darnell. “You’re letting other things far off the beaten path dictate what your decision is going to be. She encouraged me to come out here.”