Nationals

Quick Links

Self-policing in baseball clubhouses will be key for a season to work

Self-policing in baseball clubhouses will be key for a season to work

There has always been an element of self-policing in clubhouses. The place is a merger of 25 people with often varied priorities. Their professional station in life -- rich, famous, trying to hang on to a job -- couples with their personal position -- married, single partier, 26-year-old millionaire -- to influence how they operate.

And, how they do things away from the park often has an affect on what happens once they are within it. Are they early to work? Are they always on the last bus? Are they part of the family climate? Do their teammates think of them as reliable? Does someone need to say something to them for the greater good?

Personal priorities enter a whole new light in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Major League Baseball’s expansive operations manual has instructions for everything down to how to use the bathroom on flights. Many of these directives are reliant on the individual to accomplish. At the basis of concern is whether someone will unknowingly transport coronavirus into the clubhouse because of poor off-field decision-making. Players are expected to check their temperatures and check-in with a personal health assessment at the same time each day. They are expected to speak up if they don’t feel well -- something completely against a baseball player’s general nature. They are advised not to go out in social settings, but not restricted from doing so.

Which means clubhouse leaders will be dealing with new complications when trying to hold the environment together. When is it time to tell someone they should stay in for the greater good of the team? Can this become a divisive topic? Political and personal views will be part of the equation, just like they are outside of clubhouses.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how that does transpire in clubhouses,” Max Scherzer told NBC Sports Washington. “Because not only do we need the Nationals’ clubhouse to function well, we need all the clubhouses across the league to function well, as well.”

RELATED: WILL THE 2020 MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL SEASON BE COMPLETED? HERE'S WHY IT WILL

This is a key premise: the possible damage of one lit match. Major League Baseball’s operations manual has hundreds of mitigation efforts in place. From the aforementioned plane activities, to no spitting during games, to spreading out employees in the park. It’s designed to combat human nature. It will lose. The question is to what degree, and how to respond when that is happening.

“I think everybody is going to have to address it in their own way,” Scherzer said. “It’s harder to actually speculate what it’s going to look like, because until we actually get the protocol list and what’s going to happen, and how we see best what’s going to fit, it’s hard to say what that’s actually going to look like.

“How I envision this really going down is it’s going to be ever evolving. There’s going to be new challenges every single day of what it’s going to take to play baseball. You’ve got to keep a smile on your face and just got to continue to meet them and want to keep tackling them and find ways to [manage] different problems that are going to be created.

“If we try to just hold our head and go crazy over one issue, and let that issue tear us apart...I have no idea what that issue is going to be. There’s probably going to be things we haven’t really thought about as we get going into the season. But we’ve got to be ready to be able to meet it and jump through every single hoop that we need to make sure we run the league as safely as possible.”

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

The first hoop every day starts in a player’s house. It ends with what they decide to do after the game. Each choice is a chance for risk or mitigation. It’s individual but also group influencing, the possible start of something problematic or the maintaining of another clean day. Major League Baseball is trying to put on 900 regular-season games in the middle of a pandemic. Whether that happens is largely going to depend on singular, and personal, choices by players.

Stay connected to the Nationals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Juan Soto’s titanic home run helps Nationals finally find some offense

Juan Soto’s titanic home run helps Nationals finally find some offense

Reprieves are rarely handed over in Major League Baseball. The day-after-day evolution of a season usually doesn’t leave room for an unearned break. It has to be captured.

Finally, the Nationals found a path to a giddy break Monday night in a 16-4 exhale against the Mets. It snapped a three-game losing streak. It also snapped a glaring inability to score runs early in the season.

Washington brought the worst offense in the major leagues to Citi Field for a four-game series against the Mets. They scored just 35 runs in 11 total games prior, and nine runs in seven losses. The Nationals went from 29th in total runs (they were only ahead of St. Louis, which has played five games this season) at the start of the day to 26th by the end.

RELATED: DAVEY MARTINEZ GIVES PIGGYBACK RIDE TO HELP ASDRUBAL CABRERA CELEBRATE HR

Asdrúbal Cabrera homered twice. Juan Soto hit a home run so far into center field it cleared the Big Apple and stunned Mets announcer Ron Darling. It went 463 feet. Soto said he watched the ball fly out of the park to see if it would land in the metal apple.

“I see it, and it was way far,” Soto said with a laugh.

The pitch was a 77-mph curveball from left-hander Steven Matz. Soto was hitless (0-for-5) against left-handed pitchers coming into the game. He hit Matz’s curveball 108.6 mph to dead center field where only the apple and black tarps reside. Darling said he’s never seen a ball hit to that spot prior.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

Yan Gomes picked up his first two hits of the season on Monday. Cabrera now has three home runs and is hitting .357 (sample-size warning, of course). Soto is hitting .444 since rejoining the team Aug. 5.

Trea Turner also went 3-for-5. He and Adam Eaton have done little at the top of the Nationals lineup to start the season, to the point Eaton was given Monday off against a left-handed starter. Josh Harrison took his place in right field and in the No. 2 spot in the order.

“It’s fun to see the boys break out of it,” Davey Martinez said.

However, this remains a one-game sample size. It’s not consistency, it’s not what the rest of the season has been about, it’s no guarantee of what will happen Tuesday night. But at least it’s a start.

Stay connected to the Nationals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Nationals manager Davey Martinez gives piggyback ride to help Asdrúbal Cabrera celebrate 2nd homer

Nationals manager Davey Martinez gives piggyback ride to help Asdrúbal Cabrera celebrate 2nd homer

Davey Martinez has a new job: piggyback ride.

Asdrúbal Cabrera hopped on the Nationals manager Monday night following his second home run of the evening. Cabrera took a ride through a jubilant dugout in what became a rout for the struggling Nationals.

Cabrera homered twice Monday.

The idea was also partially a troll of a new member of the Mets, Brian Dozier. Dozier would hop on stout batting practice pitcher Ali Modami following a home run last season and ride through the dugout. Modami opted out of this season.

RELATED: TWITTER HAS FUN AT METS EXPENSE

The Nationals finally had something to dance about in the dugout after scoring 16 runs Monday night in Citi Field. They are 5-7 on the season.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

Stay connected to the Nationals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: