Sports on all levels have been hit or miss for the last year thanks to COVID-19, but recent moves by the High Point Rockers baseball franchise show that the team is certain the Atlantic League will be playing ball this summer.
The city of High Point built a shiny new ballpark to be the centerpiece of its downtown revitalization effort – but, unfortunately, for the 2020 summer season, the stadium was largely idle other than being used for coronavirus testing events.
Now, once again, the sounds of “Play Ball!” are almost here.
On Wednesday, Feb. 10, there was another indication that the baseball season is drawing near and that it really will happen. The Rockers announced their first player signing for the 2021 season – Outfielder Quincy Latimore, who played for the Rockers during their first and only season in 2019.
Latimore brings quite a bit of excitement to the field. He had 21 home runs and 86 RBIs during the 2019 season – and he finished in the top 10 in the Atlantic League when it comes to hitting the ball out of the park.
The 31-year old is a native of Apex where he played at Middle Creek High School. He was a fourth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007.
Latimore has spent time with the Cleveland Indians, Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers organizations and, during his 13 professional seasons, he’s amassed over 4,000 career at-bats and 128 home runs.
Latimore has also played in the Australian Baseball League as well as the Mexican League.
Earlier this week, the Rockers also announced that the team had added veteran sports publicist Steve Shutt as a media relations consultant. Shutt, who has spent four decades in athletic communications, most recently served for 13 years as the Associate Athletic Director for Athletic Communications at Wake Forest University.
In his new role with the Rockers, Shutt will assist Rocker’s staff with all aspects of communications, including publicity, public relations and media relations.
Shutt served as the tournament director for the Southern Conference Baseball Championship from 2001 to 2005 and as the play-by-play voice for Wake Forest baseball from 2012 to 2015.
This year, the Rockers are hoping to build on the success of their season in 2019, which was, of course, followed by a hiatus of 2020. The Rockers became the first expansion team in the 23-year history of the Atlantic League to make the playoffs in their first season. The High Point Rockers also finished 2019 with the league’s second-highest number of All-Star player selections.