Mauricio Dubon likely would have been the most interesting part of Gabe Kapler's Opening Day lineup. Would Dubon have been the second baseman in the opener, or would Kapler have gone straight to the plan to get the exciting young Giant more time in center field? Would he dare start the right-handed-hitting Dubon at shortstop on day one, with Clayton Kershaw -- who gave up a homer to Dubon in September -- on the mound for the Dodgers?
Perhaps we'll never know. There's no telling what the schedule will look like at this point, but Major League Baseball remains cautiously optimistic that there will be a mid-summer start.
That means Dubon will finally get to line up on Opening Day, something he has been dreaming of for most of his life. During an interview that aired on The Giants Insider Podcast this week, Dubon said he was a little sad about not getting to take part in his first opener Thursday, but there's much more at stake here.
"There's more in life than baseball, it's obviously the bigger picture," Dubon said. "From a baseball standpoint, it was kind of emotional because it was supposed to be the first one. Not being able to walk down the first or third baseline, it's just a little heartbreaker."
Like everyone else, Dubon is back home, practicing social distancing and trying to find ways to pass the time. He has played plenty of MLB: The Show and picked up Fortnite this week so he could compete with his 10-year-old brother. "It was pretty rough, but it was fun," he said, smiling. His fiancée, Nancy, has gotten into TikTok videos and Dubon has been dragged into some filming.
From a baseball perspective, there's only so much you can do in an apartment. Dubon said he's doing weight work and keeping in shape with exercise bands, and they've ordered rubber balls so Nancy can help him simulate fielding ground balls.
The staff is keeping in regular contact with players, particularly the younger ones, with recommendations for training exercises and healthy meals. A lot of that information was passed along last week in what ended up being a frantic end to camp. As COVID-19 spread throughout the world, spring training was relatively unbothered for a while.
Arizona, in general, was a couple of weeks behind the Bay Area in terms of the seriousness of the situation, and team employees who remain there say it seems the worst is yet to come. Players typically are on the field early in the morning and Cactus League games don't end until about 4 p.m. It's not like they were glued to their phones or news networks as the final day of camp approached.
"I was so blind at the time, my fiancée was telling me the whole time 'this is happening, this is happening' and I was not paying attention," Dubon said. "I was more worried about am I playing center tomorrow or am I playing second tomorrow. I wasn't thinking about it. Then, when I stopped doing all that and just focused in on the world it was literally an eye-opener. You start looking at what's going on in Italy and all those countries and it was pretty crazy."
The baseball world has caught up, and several players took to social media Thursday to encourage social distancing. The Giants are a close-knit group and Dubon said he speaks to teammates every day. They are sheltering in place, hopeful that at some point this all passes and allows for a 2020 season. It was supposed to be a breakout year for Dubon, and he said he'll be ready whenever he's allowed to get back between the lines.
"I think we're going to be ready, we're going to be ready to go and ready to play. We're disciplined enough to stay on our craft and practice every day and get ready for the season," Dubon said. "You go to spring training ready to go. Some of the guys need more time but I think we'll be ready to go from day one."