By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

Ignacio Hurtado is known as NACHO in the Arizona MSBL, where he calls home.  He lives in Scottsdale and plays with the Indians in the 35-over division.  Nacho is heading into his fourth season in the league after 20 years in the softball world before discovering the ‘real game.’  We were able to catch up with Nacho and ask him what he is doing in Arizona to stay sharp during the current outbreak.

What is your biggest takeaway from our current coronavirus outbreak? I’m still processing this. In my 44 years I have never experienced such a nationwide scare in my life. I grew up in Stockton, California and experienced the earthquake in ’89 and gang violence in front of our home. I don’t know who has the virus, or who doesn’t, so it’s scary.

My parents, who attend all my games, are still my biggest fans. We all miss baseball. I have not visited them as much because I don’t want to get them sick. I installed copy machines, as we been have closed now going on week two. I don’t know if my job will be there when this is done but like a ball player I have anticipated the worst and have applied myself towards other ventures in case. I can only pray this gets cured.  I can’t play, can’t go to the gym and can’t go the cages. I can imagine this is what being on “House Arrest” would free like.

What are you doing to stay engaged with baseball? Baseball is always on my mind. I live near a park that has one open tunnel and it is always vacant. I can ride my bike and hit balls off a tee or if I can get my baseball friend Freddy Simms to meet me and we soft toss each other and maybe throw a little.  I get home and take dry cuts in garage.

Since I will be 45 in August, I am using this break to heal. My arm and knees are pretty sore so I stretch on the floor while we watch Netflix. I have bands to use for my arms and I do lots of pushups. Me and my fiance have been riding bikes in the canal area. When I’m tired of Netflix I study player’s swings in YouTube. I find players from all eras, see their approach and examine their timing mechanisms. I find players that are similar to my swing, like Jim Edmonds or Nelson Cruz, though he has altered his stance to being more open.

I also research new ways to stretch or ways to improve injured areas. Since I also pitch I research grips, etc. From time to time I may plug the PS3 back up and play baseball. I made an Indians team on it with our names! 

What special activities are you and/or your family able to participate in? Well, we are participating in the QUARANTINE Game.  Gina and I ride bikes each day for several miles. It’s more a relaxation and a ‘get out of the house’ thing. But we have always enjoyed riding bikes. We are both off, as she is a City of Tempe employee.  She has been shopping online to pass time.  We also have been catching up on chores and stuff we have put aside. Of course, were trying to save money as that we do not know how long this Quarantine will last. But were are keeping busy and just surviving like everyone else. 

Additional Comments? “Even though baseball is and has been my biggest passion, we are in a desperate time and I have to take care of business at home and in my life before I can truly to make any baseball decisions. Baseball practice is like therapy.

Coming from the softball atmosphere, I found the Arizona MSBL to be just as fun.  Not just the 35 + teams but all the teams we have played against. I’m very friendly and believe in the spirit of competition. So, I am quick to compliment someone getting a solid hit off on me, or if you struck me out or if you make a good play. I know it’s not easy to play baseball so I know we have to recognize the efforts we put in not just to play but personally just to show up.

I have three teammates with five kids each. How do they do it? How do they find a way to pay the fee? Or to show up after a long day at work? But we all love this game so we make it work.  I hope that this virus can get past us so that we can be on a field. A pasture of hope and togetherness. GOD LOVES US so that day is near. I will be ready.”