[UPDATE 8.7.21] Team USA won the silver medal after falling to Japan, 2-0, in the Olympic baseball final game. San Diego’s Nick Allen went 3-for-4. After the game, the shortstop was named the top defensive player of the 2020 Games. Allen, who is part of the Oakland A’s farm system, was promoted to the the team’s Triple-A affiliate and will report next week to the Las Vegas Aviators.
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When Nick Allen was selected to play Olympic baseball for Team USA, his parents, Tom and Cathi, booked airplane tickets from San Diego to Tokyo.
A COVID-19 outbreak in Japan changed those travel plans. The Allens are among tens of thousands of family members worldwide who can’t watch loved ones compete in person at the “2020” quadrennial celebration of international sports.
Not getting to watch Nick play in Japan is a major bummer, says Tom Allen.
“It was really upsetting,” says Allen, a general contractor who founded TA Building & Design. “Of course, we’ve always strived to see him do everything he’s accomplished. We’re learning to deal with this. And we understand for health reasons it’s better that they’re isolated.”
Nick Allen, 22, was drafted out of Francis Parker High School in 2017. The slick-fielding shortstop was selected by the Oakland A’s in the third round of the MLB draft.
Nick is currently playing for Oakland’s Double-A affiliate in Midland, TX. He’s progressed through the A’s farm system after stints in Wisconsin and Stockton, CA.
Tom and Cathi have traveled to all those locations to catch Nick’s games. When Nick played on Team USA’s 15-under team at the Pan Am Games in Columbia, and for Team USA’s 18-under team at the Pan Am Games in Monterrey, Mexico, they were there.
Tom says he spent two weeks in Monterrey and 30 days in Columbia.
Now, the next best thing to being there for games will have to be a TV watch party at their home in La Mesa.
The Nick Allen Olympic Watch Party
Scheduling of Team USA’s first two group-play games in Japan are challenging for any devoted parent or fan who wants to watch the action live.
The United States plays Israel on Friday, July 30 at 7 p.m. local time in Japan. That’s 3 a.m. on the West Coast of the United States.
Tom Allen will be up for it. (Days before, it wasn’t clear if the game would be carried live on NBC-TV or another station also broadcasting Olympic events.)
“We’re planning to go to sleep on Thursday around 8:30 p.m. and then waking up 10 minutes before 3 a.m.,” he says.
The game also will be shown on a tape delay later on Friday. Tom says he’s superstitious about not watching live. And he couldn’t bear to miss the 3 a.m. telecast and then have a friend tell him details about the game before he saw it for himself.
There might be a sizeable group of family members joining Tom in the wee hours of Friday. He and Cathi will be joined by Tom’s mom, Mary, along with their three other kids.
The guest list could swell to two dozen. It might include Tom’s three siblings and their families, Cathi’s sister and her family, as well as some other close friends.
Nick’s girlfriend is also an invitee. He’s dating Savannah Boone, the daughter of former MLB second-baseman Bret Boone, whose career included a stint with the San Diego Padres.
Tom will be ready. He says there’s a TV in the living room and another one in the family room. This is a good excuse, he says, to buy another TV for their backyard patio that was recently renovated.
On the menu for the morning watch party: pancakes, eggs and bacon—all purchased from Trader Joe’s in Mission Valley, where Cathi works.
Olympic Baseball Watch Party, Part II
The Olympic baseball schedule isn’t exactly conducive for live viewing in California.
For its second group-play game, The United States faces South Korea on Saturday July 31. That game also airs at 3 a.m. on the West Coast.
They’ll do it all over, again, Tom says.
“I wouldn’t miss it,” he says. “Yes, it’s harder to watch on TV than in person. In the stadium, I can see how he’s feeling. When the Star-Spangled Banner plays, I can see his emotions and intensity. You can’t see all that on TV.”
Tom and Cathi do get to talk to Nick on a daily basis, sometimes through WhatsApp.
“Nick told us the Opening Ceremonies was an amazing experience,” Tom says. “He says Tokyo is a clean city with respectful people, and that the team has gotten world-class treatment.”
After the United States finishes group play, the knockout stage begins on August 1. Matchups are yet to be determined.
This much is known: The Gold Medal Game will be played on August 7.
It will air live at 3 a.m. on the West Coast.
In the Allen house, fingers are crossed. They’ll stock up on pancake batter. And sleep patterns are ready to be adjusted. J&J