After splitting a four-game series against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium, the Los Angeles Dodgers head out on the road for the first time this week, playing two games against the Houston Astros, four with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and three against the San Diego Padres.
With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still prevalent in many cities throughout the United States, teams and players will have to be extra careful if they want to get through the 2020 season without another shutdown.
As the Dodgers prepared to hit the road, manager Dave Roberts expressed confidence they won’t have any issues. “I’m pretty optimistic. Certainly it’s unknown, but understanding we’re not flying commercial,” Roberts said.
“All the people flying with us are Tier 1. Going from the airplane to the hotel, food will be delivered and brought to us individually on the plane. We’ll get to Houston and eat individually packaged meals there. I expect everyone to stay in the hotel and then go to the ballpark.
“And sort of go from the ballpark to the hotel, hotel to the ballpark. I’m encouraged. I think we’ll be fine.”
Several Dodgers players have discussed potentially putting rules in place to ensure they all stay safe, although Roberts is leaving that up to them to decide. Roberts added the team would have a meeting to discuss safety protocols before they head to Houston.
One thing that will be different this season, especially on the road, will be players’ daily routines. Clayton Kershaw is as routine-oriented as anyone, but he realizes he will have to make some adjustments this season.
The Dodgers had the benefit of holding Summer Camp, exhibition games and the start of the regular season all at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw was curious to see how they would cope on the road.
“I think these three weeks were preparing us for what it might look like. When we go on the road, though, it’s going to be completely different,” he said.
“The road is going to be so much different than what we expected as far as how we eat, hang out at the field, what we do at the field, all those things. To answer your question, I don’t know. But I’m not the only one that’s going to have to deal with it. We’re just going to have to do it. This year, we’re just going to have to accept it and deal with it.”
Buehler has confidence in safety protocols
Despite coronavirus cases continuing the rise, MLB’s health and safety protocols have limited the number of positive tests throughout the league to a handful.
Walker Buehler is confident it will remain that way and they will be able to get through the 2020 season.
“I think we’re all kind of adjusted at this point and know what’s expected of us and how we’ve got to handle it,” he recently said.
“I think the road trips is the one thing that we haven’t gotten to practice but I know everyone is extremely conscious of what they’re doing and where they’re going and things like that, trying to minimize the risk, not only for ourselves, but for everyone around us.
“So until there’s a reason not to be confident, I think we’re gonna play this whole thing out and I hope we do. But I can’t tell you there’s a reason for me to be concerned, I’m not too worried about it.”
Smith expecting to play a lot of video games on road
With players not being able to do much other than hang out at the hotel and go to the stadium, Will Smith is looking for ways to entertain himself.
“Probably a lot of video games being played in our rooms. It’s just the normal stuff you do every day. It’s not going to restaurants, it’s using Postmates or Uber Eats or whatever. Just kind of doing what we have to do and accepting we can’t do exactly what we want for the safety of others and our teammates,” Smith said.
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