He hasn’t abandoned his ultimate goal of someday playing Major League Baseball. But for now, with fewer opportunities as a result of the COVD-19 pandemic, for the first time Kent Blackstone, 26, is pursuing a Plan B regarding future employment.
The Marshall High School graduate still plans to play for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs independent professional baseball team this coming April. The infielder/outfielder played and enjoyed good success for the team in 2019, then the 2020 campaign was canceled because of the pandemic.
Scrambling to find a team, Blackstone played in the Frontier League in New Jersey briefly this past summer, then explored opportunities to play in other leagues, but had no luck.
After that, with so many unknowns regarding baseball, Blackstone switched gears and recently earned his Virginia real-estate license. He is working with a brokerage firm in Loudoun County.
“There are no baseball options right now this winter, and that’s out of my control,” Blackstone said. “I don’t want COVID to be the reason I hang up baseball. So I still plan to join the Blue Crabs in the spring. But I decided to pursue something different in real estate and dive into that and understand that field. I am enjoying it a lot.”
Blackstone was hoping to play in a pro baseball league in New Zealand or Australia this winter, as he did in 2019, but that did not pan out. He’s keeping his playing skills sharp by working out and taking batting practice.
“I had a blast playing for the Blue Crabs and look forward to that again,” Blackstone said.
After a standout career as a shortstop at Marshall, the left-handed hitting Blackstone played two seasons each in college for New Mexico State University, then George Mason University. He was among the national leaders in triples his junior and senior seasons at Mason, with a total of 14, and belted five home runs for the team.
After college, Blackstone began his pro career in 2018 playing for independent teams in the western part of the U.S. in Pecos League and Pacific Association. His combined batting average with the teams was .336 and he drove in more than 60 runs. Blackstone stole more than 40 bases with one team.
Then he joined the Blue Crabs in 2019, a team that includes former Major League players on its roster from time to time.
Blackstone didn’t get into the lineup right away for the Blue Crabs. Once he did, he started slowly, then heated up. In 116 contests, his final statistics included a .237 batting average, 18 doubles, two triples, four home runs, 24 RBI, scored 55 runs and a team-high 25 stolen bases.