In a normal year, teams would be fleeing from Florida or Arizona right now to head home or to the destination of their first regular-season series. Hitters would be ready to mentally turn the page to at-bats that count and pitchers would no longer be experimenting or just getting work in.
In a normal year, Aaron Nola would be readying for an opening day start in about 36 hours. Instead, he's still down at his condo in Clearwater, working out like it's January and enjoying some peaceful time on the water.
"Just kind of taking it like an offseason program, throwing three days a week, working out three days a week," Nola said in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia Tuesday. "Still running a few times per week. You can't really do much right now because it's not time to ramp up because we don't know when the season is gonna start or when they're gonna tell us to come back to Clearwater. Just kinda waiting to hear."
When spring training was halted because of the global COVID-19 outbreak, there was some uncertainty as to whether Nola was going to be ready for his opening day start. He had missed his most recent Grapefruit League start because of a stomach bug and it was unclear whether he'd have enough time to get stretched out for the opening series in Miami. Nola had topped out at four innings.
That's not a consideration now, though as the Mets learned with Noah Syndergaard on Monday, drama can come even during a quarantine.
"It's weird. It's weird for all of us," Nola said. "I had a little food poisoning or stomach bug, had missed my last start. Right after that, I was getting ramped up again. My body felt really good, my arm was getting in shape pretty well. And then to ramp back down because of all this coronavirus stuff. It's definitely different for all of us. It's a bump in the road and we gotta figure out how to organize things for ourselves and for the team.
"I think you prepare for June. We don't really know when they're gonna say come back to your spring training complex or how many weeks you're gonna have before the season. So it's kind of our job right now to keep our arms healthy, whatever we have to do with arm care, whatever your program is. I think ramping down right now to a certain extent is kinda what we need to do."
Nola is still in regular communication with manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Bryan Price, last speaking with them Monday. To keep busy, he's been "rolling around and fishing" and spending time on his kayak.
What he misses most right now is the competition. There's no substitute.
"I miss baseball in general," he said. "The start of the season. It's opening day, it's special no matter where it's at. This obviously goes down in the history books."