Robby Martin’s story is a familiar one – a season ending way too soon, working out at home and hoping for a phone call.
The Florida State outfielder was set to play in the Cape Cod League, which was shut down before it even started. A phone call eventually came from the Florida Collegiate Summer League and Martin, a Tampa native, jumped at the chance to play for the Orlando Scorpions.
“It’s the perfect situation, especially this summer,” Martin said. “The Cape is an awesome place to go and play summer ball. But being here in Orlando and my family can come up and watch the games whenever they feel like it. I think it’s the best situation.”
Martin is staying with a host family in Maitland, Fla., close enough to most of the ballparks where the Scorpions play this summer. The sophomore is 10th in the league in batting average (.350) and 10th in on-base percentage (.440), adding a home run, six RBI and nine runs scored in 16 games.
A number of FSU players are competing in leagues across the Southeast this summer. Martin and Reese Albert are playing for Orlando, Parker Messick and Bryce Hubbart are pitching for the Winter Garden Squeeze and Doug Kirkland and Danny Andzel are playing for the Sanford River Rats of the Florida Collegiate Summer League. Chris Ruckdeschel is pitching in the South Florida Collegiate League. Brandon Walker is also pitching for the Savannah Bananas in the Coastal Plain League.
Martin feels league organizers have done what they can to help keep players safe. There are temperature and wellness checks. Players do what they can to separate in the dugout and those who don’t play are often in the stands. High fives and many celebrations are limited, and Martin said players have favored a helmet tap after home runs.
“The league is handling it well,” Martin said.
With the Cape Cod League shut down, many of the top college players who grew up in Florida or attend Division I schools in the state have chosen to stay home. What that has done is establish high level summer ball in multiple leagues in the Sunshine State.
“They have been talking like the competition this summer has been the greatest it’s ever been in this league with multiple other guys that were supposed to go to the Cape,” Martin said. “Guys who are from the Florida area that are here. I think overall, to face those arms and see the quality of pitching is a big advantage.”
Martin is also hoping the Seminoles and the rest of college baseball can return to the field for a fall season. FSU doesn’t have a reporting date for the baseball team or a fall schedule established, but it’s clearly a goal of players and coaches to get back on the field again as soon as they can.
“I would definitely like to see an expanded fall,” Martin said. “Hopefully we can get back there during the fall, get everything going again. It’s a crazy time right now.”