WASHINGTON (AP) — No one knows for sure how, when and where — or, truly, even if — Major League Baseball will play games in 2020. Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez feels certain of this much: His team will wait to properly mark its World Series championship with spectators in the seats.
“I’m sure that I speak for everyone in our organization: We’re going to celebrate, somehow, some way. … We want to hang the banner with fans. We want to get our rings with fans. When? We don’t know. How? We don’t know. But we want them to be involved,” Martinez said Friday from his farm in Tennessee during a video call with reporters.
“For me, this is a big deal. A big deal for everybody,” Martinez said. “So we want to include everybody.”
With the sport, like so many others, on hold since March because of the coronavirus pandemic, MLB and the players’ union have been exploring how to get a season started. Among the many contingencies raised: playing in empty ballparks, perhaps at neutral sites.
Also unknown: What might a second version of spring training look like? How long might it last? And where?
So when Martinez isn’t passing time by mowing grass, cutting trees, repairing fences or chasing around his family’s two new puppies — one is named Champ, and you probably can guess why — he is planning for a possible camp to prepare for a possible regular season.
“For me, there’s been scenarios where I said, ‘If they give us two weeks, this is what we’ve got to do,’” Martinez said, adding he’s also mapped out what it might look like for three or four weeks.
If his club were to hold a camp at Nationals Park in Washington, instead of returning to is multi-field spring facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, Martinez said a blueprint might be necessary that respects rules about social distancing and keeping gatherings to a limited number of people.
“With only one field, we may have to separate and make groups — whether starting pitchers come in the morning, bullpen guys come another time, and then regular players come sometime in the afternoon,” he said. “With one field, it’s going to be hard to do. If we have to play scrimmage games, maybe using both dugouts (and) some guys in the stands. All these things are going to have to come into play.”
One topic Martinez does not sound too worried about is his contract status. He is entering the third season under his original three-year deal, which also contains a club option for 2021.
Asked Friday whether there has been any conversation about that, he answered: “Nothing. No.”