Davey Martinez starts his day with a 40-minute Peloton ride before heading out to the 350 acres of his farm in Tennessee.
The residence was meant for winter use, when baseball is over, and Martinez can work the land, hunt and generally check out after the season.
He’s there now. Martinez needs to do work all across the property -- tree cutting, fence fixing and lawn cropping -- and has fresh company. Two puppies, Champ and Mya, are now part of his camp family. He’s happy to be on the property as opposed to shut into a townhouse. However, there’s one place he would rather be.
“I would love my backyard to be Nats ballpark,” Martinez said Friday.
He, like Commissioner Rob Manfred and his boss, Mike Rizzo, is optimistic baseball will return in 2020. Martinez, like those other two, surprised no one when making that statement. Major League Baseball has been his life since 1983. He’s the manager of the defending World Series champions. Spring training started, then slammed to a halt because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Of course he wants baseball back.
“First and foremost for me, when you start thinking about scenarios, I don’t want to speculate on what’s going to transpire,” Martinez said. “But what I do try to do every day is tell myself that we will have baseball, baseball’s going to come back.”
Martinez is working through prospective spring training scenarios. Two weeks of ramp up generates one outline, three weeks another, four weeks still one more. There’s no date -- yet -- to work back from. He doesn’t know which pitchers have been able to do what. Martinez joked Max Scherzer will probably be ready to throw seven or eight innings as soon as spring training resumes. Players have bought mounds to install in their yards, purchased stationary bikes like him, generally hunted any solution to stay in shape.
“Other than that, I haven’t really thought about where spring training would be because right now everything is just speculation,” Martinez said.
Among the speculation is the idea spring training would resume in the teams' home ballpark. That would reduce the Nationals’ capacity from 14 bullpen mounds, plus six other fields, to two mounds. They would have one full diamond. No minor-leaguers would be around to fill out rosters. It’s a logistical problem, like everything else.
“We talk about isolation and more than 10 people gathering in one place, with only one field we may have to separate and make groups,” Martinez said. “Whether starting pitchers come in the morning, bullpen guys come another time, then regular players come sometime in the afternoon. With one field it’s going to be hard to do. If we have to play scrimmage games, maybe using both dugouts, send guys in the stands. These are all things that are going to have to come into play.”
There’s nothing definitive. Martinez quickly and repeatedly pointed that out during his conference call. But, he remains hopeful, now applying his “win the day” philosophy to avoiding too much speculation. He’s on the farm with the puppies, burning calories and grinding away. His life revolves around contingencies. He hopes it is again centered by baseball soon.
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