SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — To say it has been a challenge for Ben Whetstone to put in offseason work would be an understatement.
“We were in a routine of going up to a local high school field, and one day two police officers showed up and came and talked to us, then the next day the school announced no one was supposed to use the baseball field,” MSU senior Ben Whetstone said. “Fast forward a week later we were at a different high school field and we got kicked off. We’re still six feet apart and group less than ten. It’s been frustrating, but I guess it’s for the best.”
But getting kicked off the diamond isn’t what is pressing in Whetstone’s mind at the moment.
“I just have to see in a few weeks, probably, to solidify that answer 100 percent,” Whetstone said.
It’s returning to school, or moving on.
“At this point, we are already 23,” Whetstone said. “Then this happens, so, it’s something none of us expected, but it makes it more difficult for sure.”
Whetstone is one of a few redshirt seniors on the Bears’ roster. He started his work toward an MBA this spring, but he’s been working toward the MLB for much longer.
“The opportunity to sign as a free agent is something that would be really cool for me, but if that doesn’t work out I do have one more year toward a Masters degree,” Whetstone said. “That is something that would pull me closer to going back and playing.”
Whetstone is a career 249 hitter with 19 home runs and 82 RBIs. He’s also been reliable at first base with a 992 fielding percentage. A piece the Bears have enjoyed in the dugout for the past five years.
“I’m fortunate that our coaching staff has been great to me in my career,” Whetstone said. “I know whatever decision that I come to, they are going to support it. But they have made it pretty clear they want me to return, so we will see.”
Whetstone says a decision is likely in the next few weeks. And he does have a couple of moments to look forward to if he is a Bear in 2021.
“Getting to have a senior day and getting to have that closure, it’s something that I would really enjoy,” Whetstone said. “I guess probably at this rate, if I stay another year, I might be able to be the winningest player in Missouri State University.”
In late March, the NCAA gave spring sport seniors a year of eligibility relief based off the season being canceled due to COVID-19.