By Kit Fox

It happened a few rows behind home plate in Denver for Kevin Moss ’04, nearly halfway through the 2021 season. The stadium felt packed—no longer could you hear the eerie sound of individual voices ping-ponging through the sparse stands. The crowd actually roared. Moss could feel the energy ripple across the field.

It was at game three of the 2021 American League Divisional Series for Wataru Ando ’18a do-or-die game for the Chicago White Sox at home—when a Leury García go-ahead homer in the bottom of the third whipped 40,000 fans off their feet. “Probably the coolest moment I have ever seen,” Ando says.

It happened on opening day in 2021 for David Bednar ’17, his first time stepping into the ballpark he’d dreamed about as a kid. With the crowd still reduced, he could hear the yells from one specific corner of the stadium when he trotted out of the bullpen. It came from his family and friends, who’d trekked just 30 minutes south to see him take the mound for the very first time as a Pittsburgh Pirate.

And Kevin Peralta ’20 felt it at his hometown park.

With a degree earned during the pandemic and his future uncertain, he’d hit and shagged balls with his dad and brother on summer afternoons, dreaming about his own career as he waited for the phone call that would change his life.

As COVID-19 disrupted every part of our lives, its symbolic impact was perhaps no more visible than the canceled seasons and then empty stadiums in sports leagues around the world. But as vaccinations rose and cases eased, those stadiums slowly filled up. Sports, in a way, became a barometer and a rallying point for a way back to normalcy.

For four Lafayette alumni who had earned their way into Major League Baseball (MLB), that feeling of normalcy happened at different moments. But it inspired the same exact thought in each of them for the first time in nearly two years.

“Baseball is back.”

Though they come from different backgrounds, earned different degrees, and are impacting the game of baseball both on the field and off, they each started and ended at the same place: from Lafayette’s campus to the big leagues.