Baseball can occasionally manifest some pretty fascinating personal connections.
Like how Mike Fiers, the eldest starter in the A's rotation, currently is forging an even tighter bond with Jesús Luzardo, one of his youngest counterparts.
“He only lives like 10 minutes from me,” Fiers told NBC Sports California on Tuesday from Florida. “So it’s not even like the home state, it’s like the home city.”
But their acquaintance didn’t start in Oakland. It actually began in the late 2000s.
“I remember him as a 10-, 11-year-old kid,” Fiers said. “Throwing bullpen [sessions] over by my high school, and helping out over there.”
Fiers has been following the lefty’s journey ever since. What a coincidence they’d end up on the same big league team.
“Obviously he became a big name coming through high school," Fiers said, "and his velocity getting up there, and then being a high draft pick.”
Now the two are workout partners in the strangest of times, with MLB, sports and much of life on complete pause.
Fiers and Luzardo get together every couple of days and complete socially-distanced pitching workouts, where they are able to push and provide each other inspiration.
“We cut it down to only a couple of guys,” Fiers said of the workouts. “We know how serious this thing is, and nobody wants to jeopardize their families and their livelihood.”
The pair are taking thorough precautions in the no-contact sessions, which also feature strategically placed bottles of Purell hand sanitizer. There’s also a portable pitching mound, supplied by Fiers.
“We actually took that out to a church,” Fiers said. “It’s the only place we have left, a church parking lot. There’s a field next to it. So we just keep that pitching mound under a tree.”
It’s hardly the Coliseum, but it will have to do for now.