By JAKE SEINER
AP Sports Writer
Trevor May has been preparing for this.
Not precisely for a global pandemic that would bring sports — and so much else — to an unprecedented standstill. Even hours and hours of dystopian video games couldn’t help foresee that.
But a break in the baseball schedule? That’s something the Minnesota Twins reliever — and pro video game streamer — thought might happen eventually, considering the threat of a work stoppage in two years due to tensions between players and ownership.
“It was just something in the front of our minds — ‘OK, what would we do if weren’t able to play?’” May told The Associated Press on Sunday.
May’s solution if the games got called off? Game on.
Video gaming has become a go-to hobby for millions self-isolating around the globe, and titles old and new are getting unprecedented participation.
Call of Duty: Warzone debuted March 10 and attracted 30 million players in its first 10 days, and Animal Crossing became the most tweeted about game of 2020 with 3 million Twitter mentions in 24 hours after dropping Friday. In Italy, quarantined teens played so much Fortnite that it helped create a massive surge in bandwidth.
It’s no surprise that athletes — competitive by nature, mostly from Generations Y and Z, and almost all locked out of their arenas — are among the most eager to pick up the controls.
NBA players Ben Simmons, Devin Booker and Meyers Leonard have hosted live videos on Twitch, and Luka Doncic has said he may soon join them. Hockey players, race car drivers and more have also moved into the streaming space.
It’s been a seamless transition for May, who in addition to posting a 2.94 ERA for the Twins last year has also streamed for Luminosity since 2017, when he missed the baseball season following Tommy John surgery.
With baseball facing a potential work stoppage when its current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2021 season, he has been laying groundwork to go full-time on Twitch anyway.
May is splitting time between Warzone and MLB The Show 20, which also became available last week. He plans to stream to his nearly 160,000 Twitch followers 6-8 hours each day, six days per week, at least until he’s able to reconnect with Twins teammates in person to renew preparations for a season delayed until at least mid-May.
His expertise has made him a go-to source for other major leaguers.