Rick Renteria should be in Cleveland getting ready for a three-game series against the Indians.
Instead, he’s in Chicago, and like baseball fans everywhere, the White Sox manager is wondering when and if the 2020 season will ever start.
“Quite frankly, I've kind of been waiting to see how this was going to play itself out because you can't really put a huge plan together without knowing where we're standing,” Renteria told NBC Sports Chicago this week.
As the players and owners continue to argue and occasionally negotiate, Major League Baseball’s managers are left on the outside, just waiting like the fans. All Renteria can do is try to manage his team from afar, hoping his players stay ready.
“I've left mass voicemails to all the players. Continue to encourage them that when they can and if they can get out to do the things they can to keep their bodies moving,” he said.
Renteria was in Arizona until very recently and the players that were still in the Phoenix area could workout at the team facility, but the manager was not allowed to organize anything. Carlos Rodon, for example, was still rehabbing his elbow in Arizona.
“There's still guys rehabbing and guys that were still going out there to the ballpark -- albeit not very many,” Renteria said. “Obviously the lockdown affected a lot of activity. I've just encouraged them to stay on the ready.”
Assuming there is a baseball season – and it still looks like there will be – Renteria is going to have quite a task picking up where the White Sox left off in mid-March. They were just two weeks away from Opening Day when the COVID-19 pandemic shut the season down, and they could have less than a month to get ready for an abbreviated season when the team reconvenes for a second “spring training” – most likely in Chicago. Whatever the White Sox are allowed to do, it will occur under strict social distancing guidelines. Baseball players and coaches are creatures of habit, but any familiar routines will be obsolete in 2020.
“I'll be honest, I'm not going to be complaining about the limitations,” Renteria said. “I've got to find a way around them and do the best I can assuming when and if we get back together. I'll just have to find a way and our staff will have to find a way and our players will have to find a way to look beyond everything and put ourselves where we need to.”
Renteria realizes that’s not an easy task, but he’s also well aware of what’s going on in the world. With a health crisis, a financial crisis, a racial crisis and a political crisis creating an awful storm in the United States, the White Sox manager is keeping the right perspective.
“All of us at some point in time look where we're at," Renteria said. "In general, everybody is dealing with a lot of change and a little bit of chaos. Again, for me, I got no room to complain. None. So we'll find a way.”