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What Ryan Zimmerman thinks needs to be done for a safe MLB return

What Ryan Zimmerman thinks needs to be done for a safe MLB return

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ryan Zimmerman is a two-time All-Star infielder who has played 15 years in the majors, all with the Washington Nationals. With baseball on hold during the coronavirus pandemic, Zimmerman is offering his thoughts -- as told to AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich -- in a diary of sorts. In the eighth installment, Zimmerman discusses what his biggest concerns would be about resuming competition in 2020, starting with assurances about testing for COVID-19.

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If we’re going to play a season, or a partial season, we’re the ones that are going out into the world in the middle of a pandemic, when basically the experts are saying not to have large gatherings.

Everyone’s like: “You guys should just go do it. Why not? It’ll be safe.” Oh, OK. Really? Tell me how it’s going to be safe, and then I’ll think about it.

There need to be assurances -- not 90%; 100% -- about health and safety for us and our families and everyone involved. Not just the players, but also the field staff, the clubhouse staff, the stadium staff, security people.

That is the No. 1 priority for me and for the majority of people, I would assume. The chances of someone getting the virus have to be very low for us to even start the conversation.

I love baseball and I know how much America loves baseball. But you know what I love way more than baseball? My family -- and my kids being able to live a normal life because we missed baseball for one year, if that’s what ends up being the case.

So to me, daily testing is what you have to have. When you’re walking into the stadium that day, you need to know for a fact that everyone around is negative.

Even if we’re supposed to be quarantined, what if someone goes to a grocery store? Or a pharmacy to pick up a prescription? Or something like that? The third, fourth, fifth removed thing keeps getting bigger and bigger. Then, all of a sudden, I’m a healthy 35-year-old athlete who maybe gets sick but is asymptomatic, and I come home, and I have a 2-week-old baby who gets it. Maybe the baby gets over it without us ever knowing, but 10 years down the road, my kid’s lungs don’t develop fully? Who knows? We just don’t know everything about what this virus does.

At some point, we’ve got to be real about: What’s worth having baseball?

We’re talking about maybe a half-season. Let’s be honest: Whoever wins the World Series will face questions. Is it even really going to count this year if the champs only have to play three months’ worth of games and the postseason’s way bigger than normal? What if a team that never would have gotten in ends up winning the World Series?

We have to really also be careful about the product that we put on the field. People are going to expect to see Major League Baseball that they’ve seen in the past.

Can I prepare properly before games? What happens if we’re playing so many time a week that guys who throw 95 mph are throwing 88 mph by September? Everyone says, “The managers will take care of players.” When we’re playing four games in three days, Trea Turner and Juan Soto are going to play every single day, because there’s only 80 games and you’ve got to make the playoffs, because that’s where the money’s made.

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Here’s something else: Is it going to be fun for the players? More than making the money, I still enjoy playing the game and being around my teammates. We’re not going to be able to go to dinner together? We’re not going to be able to hang out in the hotel? We’re just going to go from a hotel to the field and back and do nothing else for four months straight?

Everyone talks about how we’re grown men playing a kid’s game and that’s part of the appeal of sports. Is that going to be part of it still this year?

These are nitpicking things that some people would agree with -- and some people would crush me and say: “It doesn’t matter how you feel. Just get out there and play!”

The narrative is going to become about money. It always is. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong. But believe it or not, most of us still enjoy the heck out of playing baseball.

Before we dig into the economics, you have to think about this: All it takes is one person to get sick -- or pass away, God forbid -- and then you wonder why you did it.

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Max Scherzer purchases new waterfront mansion in Jupiter for $9.8M, per report

Max Scherzer purchases new waterfront mansion in Jupiter for $9.8M, per report

Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer has purchased a waterfront mansion in Jupiter, Fla., according to real estate site The Real Deal. The 7,778-square foot property sold for $9.8 million, per the report. It was previously owned by real estate investor Justin Daniels and wife Robin Daniels.

The mansion, built in 2018, has five bedrooms, seven-and-a-half bathrooms, a four-car garage, and over 120 feet of water frontage.

Judging off pictures of the property posted to Twitter by Action Network's Darren Rovell, Scherzer has found quite the getaway.

The inside features a chef's kitchen with dual wall ovens, while the outside has a resort-style pool and 70-foot boat slip. More photos can be seen here.

RELATED ARTICLE: MAX SCHERZER AMONG MLB PLAYERS WHO HELD SECRET FLORIDA PRACTICES, PER REPORT

In 2015, Scherzer signed a seven-year, $210 million deal with the Nationals that runs through the 2021 season. The three-time Cy Young winner turns 36 on July 26, just days after the expected start of the season.

According to The Athletic, Scherzer was part of a group of more than 30 MLB players practicing in Palm Beach in June. It seems baseball wasn't the only business he was taking care of Florida.

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MLB’s first round of coronavirus testing shows low positivity rate

MLB’s first round of coronavirus testing shows low positivity rate

An enormous question hovered over the first day of workouts across Major League Baseball on Friday: who would test positive for coronavirus?

The league and MLBPA jointly released the first round of testing results late Friday. They are encouraging. But also just one step.

Only 38 individuals -- 31 players and seven staff members -- tested positive out of 3,185 samples collected and tested. That’s a 1.2 percent positivity rate, well below the recently surging national average of 7.4 percent, according to John Hopkins University.

No one on the Nationals has tested positive yet, according to Davey Martinez. Across the league, 19 of the 30 teams had an individual test positive in the first round of results.

Three players in the Nationals’ original 60-man player pool have opted not to play this season. Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross decided earlier in the week to sit out. Veteran catcher Welington Castillo chose later in the week to stay in the Dominican Republic instead of play.

RELATED: WELINGTON CASTILLO OPTS OUT OF 2020 MLB SEASON

“I didn’t talk to Welington,” Mike Rizzo said Friday. “He spoke to Davey and one of our assistant GMs. But I had a long conversation with Zim. Those are tough decisions, kind of courageous decisions in my mind. The easy path is to try to grind it out and take your chances. But these two guys, Joe and Zim, felt it wasn’t worth the risk. We support both of them. These decisions were tough for them. We certainly didn’t try to talk them out of it, by any way, shape or form. We supported them greatly and admire them for it, because these were tough decisions.”

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The tests, results and reactions will be a daily chore for the league from now until the postseason -- if there is one -- concludes. And, a much more complicated scenario begins with the season on July 23. The league is attempting a travel plan no other sport has remotely considered. But, the first-day returns are positive thanks to the amount of those testing negative.

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