Matt Olson spent the MLB hiatus in Atlanta which happened to be one of the first places to open up as far as the shutdowns were concerned.
The good news was that meant the A’s first baseman was able to put in more work earlier than most in a more comfortable setting but knew the coronavirus was impacting the league -- and even beyond that.
The Georgia native was asked if he had been in contact with Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who had recently tested positive for coronavirus and was struggling with some of his symptoms.
“I haven’t had any contact with him,” Olson said in a Zoom interview with reporters on Sunday. “I obviously saw the news that it was hitting him pretty hard and I think his wife posted something that he was the guy that never gets sick and -- that kind of was a little bit of a wakeup to me because I feel like I’m that guy who doesn’t get sick too often and sometimes you could think you are a little invincible especially because we’ve been hearing that healthy people, it doesn’t affect too much.”
Olson knows it was an important moment to show that despite hearing young, healthy individuals are less immune to contracting the virus, that’s not always the case.
“Obviously you hear everything from both ends of the spectrum now, but it’s eye-opening to see somebody in our situation, a professional athlete, stays in shape, all of that and he hit that wave, that Freeman was hit,” Olson said.
Olson wants to set a precedent to make sure he and his teammates are doing everything they can to protect themselves and those closest to them.
“It just goes back to us doing our thing, being smart, not going out, exposing ourselves to those outside of the field, we’ve talked about it, we just have to be smart -- not only as players, but we got staff in here, we have everybody who goes home to their kids, wives, so we just can’t be selfish -- and do the right thing and stay safe,” Olson said.
Freeman was one of four Braves players who tested positive and the team’s manager Brian Snitker said on Saturday “it will be a while before” he will be back.
As of Friday, MLB announced there were a total of 66 positive tests which equated to 1.8 percent of the 3,748 samples tested.