Staying Positive: Shortstop Nick Ahmed combats isolation by being present
Staying Positive: Shortstop Nick Ahmed combats isolation by being present

Staying Positive: Shortstop Nick Ahmed combats isolation by being present

Photo by Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Arizona Diamondbacks fans are missing baseball and it’s good to know players like Nick Ahmed are as well.

“We’re six days into what would have been our 2020 season,” Ahmed says at the end of March. “That doesn’t compare to missing 162 of them, but hopefully that doesn’t happen. Everybody wants to play baseball. We’re going to get back out there sometime, but there’s nothing we can do right now. We can’t control it. We just have to take it as it comes, day by day, and see where they go.

“I think there are a lot of discussions right now about baseball. I don’t ‘think’—I know—but ultimately, we want to play.”

That could be with or without fans in the stands.

“The players are open to that,” he says, about playing in empty stadiums. “We just want to play. If it comes to playing with no fans for a little while, as much as that would be extremely weird and strange, we’d be open to it. Hopefully, it wouldn’t have to last for a long time. It would get more games in and get more games on TV for fans to watch. We’re all for that.”

Ahmed and his younger brother, infield prospect Mike, are staying in shape at the D-backs’ shortstop’s home in the Valley. Ahmed has a makeshift gym in his backyard with a “random assortment” of dumbbells, weights and medicine balls. Mike is living with him.

“We do baseball stuff a few days a week,” Ahmed says. “We’re doing some hiking, doing some swimming, and just some cross-training stuff as well. We’re just staying in shape during this weird time.”

At his off-season home in Massachusetts, Ahmed has everything he needs, but when Ahmed saw a possible delay to the start of the season, he quickly ordered workout equipment from Amazon.

Ahmed also runs sprints and uses a batting cage at a nearby high school.

“They stayed open for us, so we have the opportunity to stay in shape baseball-wise,” Ahmed says. “I feel ready to go whenever we get back on the field. I think early in my career, I would have been a little bit more frustrated with things. I think I’ve come to a place right now where I’m a little more mature as far as just knowing what I need, and knowing that I don’t have to have every single thing structured on a daily basis to get myself ready.”

Aside from Mike, Ahmed hasn’t been in regular touch with his teammates, due to social isolation.

“We’re all pretty much isolated so we can’t really get together, unfortunately, but we’re all thankful for technology and for the opportunity to Facetime and make phone calls and text and things like that.

“It is just weird. I feel thankful that I have my wife and kids with me. For the guys who are single or the guys who don’t have their families with them, that’s tough.”

Ahmed keeps his morale up by staying present. Every day he journals about the things for which he’s grateful. If he focused on what he didn’t have, it would make him crazy.

“If I do focus on the things I have and the things I am grateful for—my health and my family and everything else I can think of on a daily basis—my mind is in a much better place,” Ahmed says. “So, I just practice it and try to get that under control.”

Ahmed is looking forward to the day when coronavirus and the world are under control.

“I can’t wait to get together with people, just having those relationships where you can invite friends over for dinner, go out to dinner and do things like that,” he says.

“I look forward to our kids being able to have their friends over. I’m thankful we have our family together and we have these relationships now. If this goes on, I’m going to miss that camaraderie and that fellowship.”