Even though Major League Baseball didn't officially begin the 2020 season before coronavirus temporarily shut it down, months of preparation was halted and forced to be reworked.
Without a set date for a return to play, the Nationals haven't stopped preparing for their World Series title defense. They've simply been careful not to peak too soon.
"We have not ceased to train for spring training," General manager Mike Rizzo told The Sports Junkies Wednesday. "We have a major-league coaches and managers staff call weekly, we have the position-player coaches in contact with the pitchers, the hitting coaches in contact with the hitters.
"We're in constant contact, these guys are staying in good shape," he said. "We don't want them peaking or getting ready too early in case there's a delay in spring training or there is no spring training but we want them to be on the fringes of being ready and prepared to go to spring training."
Rizzo also revealed how long he believes his team in an abbreviated spring training period to be full-go for game action.
"We think in three weeks or so, give or take, they could be in full swing for any type of real competition when the season starts," he said.
For now, Nationals players can look forward to their upcoming virtual ring ceremony and prepare by their own methods. Nats fans can feel good about their team's work ethic during a pandemic because apparently they've gone to great lengths to stay ready.
"We've got a lot of guys [using] a lot of ingenuity to figure out ways to stay prepared for the season," Rizzo said. "Somebody should do a documentary on the different types of setups these guys have, it's really remarkable.
"Guys buying portable mounds so they can throw in their back yards and buying batting cages, pitching machines and curveball machines to ready themselves in that type of unique situation," he said.
Everyone wants to know what the next big sports documentary will be to follow up The Last Dance, and maybe this could be it. I'll submit the first title suggestion as Rest in Peace to Max Scherzer's Lawn.
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