In late October, Sean Doolittle and the Washington Nationals won the World Series in dramatic fashion, winning the final two games of the series on the road against the Houston Astros. Instead of starting the 2020 season and working toward repeating as a World Series champion, the former Virginia star and his Nationals teammates are following social distancing guidelines with the MLB season on hold due to COVID-19.
Doolittle, who is currently in Florida with his wife Eireann Dolan, is making the most of the quarantine. From using one his dogs, Sophia, as a weight for lunges, to posting Q&A videos with Dolan about their lives, Doolittle’s quarantine includes plenty of fun.
The Nationals reliever and former UVa standout shared a few recommendations for others to make the most of their quarantines.
Recommendation: “The Wise Man’s Fear” by Patrick Rothfuss
Doolittle loves to read and he frequently posts on social media about the books he’s reading. Dolan even hosted a fake talk show Thursday called “It’s Lit with Eireann” that the Nationals posted to Twitter. Reading is commonplace during their usual lives, and especially during their Florida quarantine.
Recently, Doolittle finds himself reading “The Wise Man’s Fear” by Patrick Rothfuss. It’s the second book in The Kingkiller Chronicles. The third book in the series has yet to be released, and the first book is titled “The Name of the Wind.”
“In like the fantasy fiction genre that I love to nerd out in, they’re considered classics,” Doolittle said. “They’re not that old, they’re relatively recent, but they’re like staples of the genre and they’re a little bit longer books, so I had been procrastinating and putting them off.”
With more free time on his hands, Doolittle decided he didn’t have any excuses to put off reading the series, so he dove into the books. He called the books “incredible” and recommends them to anyone who enjoyed reading “A Game of Thrones” or “Lord of the Rings.”
Given their length, Doolittle considers the books ideal for this time period with many across the country expecting to spend a few more weeks or months inside following social distancing guidelines.
Movies aren’t quite Doolittle’s area of expertise, especially compared to books, but the left-handed pitcher did suggest “Parasite.” The 2019 film took home four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
“In spring training, before everything shut down, we saw ‘Parasite,’ and I absolutely loved it,” Doolittle said. “I think that’s available now to stream, so people should check that out.”
Recommendations: “Ozark” and “The Sopranos”
“Ozark,” which stars Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, is a Netflix show with three seasons currently released. The latest season came out at the end of March. The crime drama follows Bateman, who participates in a money laundering scheme, and his family as they navigate a crime-filled life in the Ozarks.
“I just finished ‘Ozark’ and I loved it,” Doolitle said. “I thought season 3 was really good. I thought it was the best season yet.”
While “The Sopranos” ended in 2007, the New Jersey native had never watched the six-season show despite its many awards and accolades.
“Growing up in New Jersey, when I went away to college or in pro ball, people found out I was from New Jersey and they were like, ‘Oh, Sopranos,’” Doolittle said. “I don’t know, for some reason, I was just like, I’m not gonna give in to that stereotype, I’m not gonna watch it. But I finally watched it, and it’s got to be the best show I’ve ever seen.”
Recommendation: Creativity with stairs
Doolittle says he’s using the stairs going down to his back patio for a variety of different exercises. If you have access to stairs, Doolittle recommends using them to safely exercise without having to buy dumbbells or other exercise equipment.
“I do my calf stretches there,” Doolittle said. “You can do different step ups, one or two steps at a time depending on how frisky you’re feeling.”
Additional creativity can allow for one-foot hops up and down the stairs to work on balance and strength. Doolittle recommends a little more caution when doing those.
“Make sure you have a railing, though, so you can balance yourself,” Doolittle laughed.
He also uses the stairs to jump down off a few steps to practice landing and absorbing the impact of the ground. He says that’s crucial for him as a pitcher as he drives his right foot into the ground as he strides toward home plate.
“I’ve gotten a lot work out of the back steps,” Doolittle said. “I’m sure my neighbors probably think I’m crazy, but it’s been going well so far.”
Recommendation: Vegan chickpea burritos
Dolan’s cooking skills far surpass those of her husband. While Doolittle’s talents don’t extend to the kitchen, he’s grateful for his wife’s ability to create delicious and healthy meals.
“Left to my own devices, I would probably just eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch all day,” Doolittle said.
She’s a vegan, so Doolittle says they’re eating extremely healthy food during quarantine, which comes as an added bonus for the professional athlete. Recently, Dolan made vegan chickpea burritos that include sweet potatoes and broccoli.
While Doolittle was unsure of the full recipe, he recommended tweeting at Dolan at her Twitter handle (@EireannDolan) if you’re in need of any creative and healthy recipe ideas.
Recommendation: Billy Strings
The 27-year-old bluegrass musician from Michigan is a recent favorite of Doolitte’s. Born William Apostol, Billy Strings has gained popularity in recent years, and Doolittle enjoys the artist’s work even though he doesn’t usually listen to much music from the genre.
“He does some incredible covers of some folks songs and some bluegrass songs,” Doolittle said. “His work on the guitar is incredible. He’s got an amazing voice.”
Doolittle enjoys the tempo of Strings’ work and listens to the songs during some of his creative at-home workouts.
Plans when quarantine ends
For the final question, Doolittle shared what he would do if he was in Charlottesville and stay-at-home and social distancing orders were lifted. In essence, what would his first action be given a return to normalcy in the Charlottesville area?
“Go to Bodo’s,” Doolittle said. “Go to Bodo’s and I’d get a sausage, egg and cheese and a coffee and just like sit there. Post up, bring a book maybe, grab a paper, do the crossword, people watch a little bit. Just spend a couple hours in the morning enjoying life resuming as normal.”
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