Ryan Zimmerman initially expressed skepticism about the rumored plans to have all 30 MLB teams playing in seclusion in Arizona (or some other city/cities), so there can be a (relatively) controlled and safe environment to play out an abbreviated 2020 campaign.
In an AP diary the 35-year-old, 15-year veteran has been publishing during the coronavirus shutdown, Zimmerman, (who signed a 1-year/$2M deal to keep playing in Washington, D.C. this winter), said he didn’t see himself staying away from his family for months.
“I have my third child due in June. If this ‘bubble’ in Arizona was going to happen starting in May, you’re trying to tell me I’m not going to be able to be with my wife and see my kid until October?
“I’m going to go four or five months without seeing my kid when it’s born? I can tell you right now that’s not going to happen.
“Not many people have to go through that, nor should they.”
“I think at the end of the day it’s got to be safe for everybody,” Zimmerman said in a Zoom call last week, when he was asked if he thinks it will be possible for players to come to any consensus on the sort of plans that are reportedly being discussed.
“People forget that we have families, people forget that we’re actually human beings and not just robots that go out and play sports to entertain people.
“I know it’s easy to forget that sometimes, but there’s a lot of different moving parts that have to be put together.”
“We’ll see what happens,” he added. “You guys are paying as much attention as I am how this — the numbers, and how this virus is going, and my best advice is just you have to defer to the experts. These are the people who know what they’re talking about, these are the people that are living this stuff every second of the day.
“Hopefully we can consult with them and do what we can to get it back as soon as we can, but obviously as safe as we can as well.”
“There are a lot of ideas floating around the internet about what’s going to happen with us and how we’re going to make things work,” Eric Thames, (who joined the Nationals on a 1-year/$4M deal this winter), told SiriusXM MLB Network Radio hosts Eduardo Perez and Steve Phillips in an interview last week.
“But it’s all a matter of keeping everybody safe, that’s priority No. 1,” the 33-year-old, five-year veteran continued.
“The players, staff, families, and the fans. We’re all champing at the bit, but you know, No. 1 priority is keeping people safe, and then comes the entertainment and that sort of thing.”
“Right now I know there’s a lot of speculation about how the season is going to start, how are we going to [play] the 2020 season in baseball,” Aníbal Sánchez told the same MLBNR hosts in a separate interview last Monday.
“For me, I love my family, it’s part of my career. Everything that I’ve done is because I’ve got a great family,” the 36-year-old, 14-year veteran said.
“I don’t think I agree with the whole situation that I leave my family behind just because I have to play baseball.
“I think in my young age, I don’t know if it’s because of the time that I got in the show, but for me, I put — [for] too many years baseball in front of my family and right now family is [in front of] baseball, so if I had to make a decision, I go with my family. I don’t think that I can stay [away] from my family for five or six months without seeing my kids, my daughter, or even my wife.”
Will players have to make those choices?
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly wrote last week, as quoted by ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan, that he expected that there will be baseball at some point his year.
“While I fully anticipate that baseball will resume this season,” Manfred said, “... it is very difficult to predict with any accuracy the timeline for the resumption of our season.”
Will all 30 teams end up in Arizona? Passan wrote on Monday that though their governor supports such a plan, “logistical issues abound,” and there are, “also a wide variety of so-called hub plans, in which baseball would station teams in a set number of cities,” who’ll end up being the first to lift stay-at-home restrictions.
“The Commissioner recently told us that he fully anticipates us playing a baseball season in 2020,” Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo told reporters last week, “and I’m behind him on that, I support that, and like we’ve said in the past we’re going to need some outside-the-box ideas, but I think the Commissioner is committed to play and I trust that we will find a way.”