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Athletics’ Mike Fiers doesn’t want protection, ‘can defend myself’

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Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers on Wednesday said, “I can defend myself” and that he doesn’t need extra security from Major League Baseball during the 2020 season.

“I don’t know how they would,” Fiers told The Athletic on Wednesday. “I’m not asking for extra security. I’m here to play baseball and I can defend myself, if anything. We do have National League games and I’m going to have to get into the box [to hit] just like everybody else.

“It’s part of the game. If they decide to throw at me, then they throw at me. There’s nothing much you can do about it.”

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday promised to “take every possible step” to protect Fiers, who revealed to The Athletic in November that the Houston Astros were stealing signs.

“I want to be really clear about this: Mike, who I do not know at all, did the industry a service,” Manfred said Tuesday. “I do believe that we will be a better institution when we emerge at the end of this episode, and without a Mike Fiers, we probably would have had a very difficult time cleaning this up. It would have taken longer. … I have a real problem with anyone that suggests Mike did anything other than the right thing.”

In its investigation, MLB found that the 2017 Astros used a live feed from a center-field camera to decipher the opposing catchers’ signs in real time and deployed a system that involved banging on a trash can to alert their hitters of upcoming pitches.

“I’ve dealt with a lot in my life,” Fiers told The Athletic on Wednesday. “I’ve dealt with people hating me before. I’ve dealt with a lot of life problems. It is what it is. And if someone’s going to retaliate then by hitting me with a pitch, it’s not a big deal.”

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Today-would-have-been-Opening Day MLB Power Rankings

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Well, there are no flyovers, no cracks of the bat, no peanuts or Cracker Jack. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be Power Rankings.

On what would have been Opening Day, we compile the votes of ESPN’s baseball reporters, writers and editors and unveil our rankings for all 30 teams, looking at where they stand with the season in limbo. Along with the rankings, David Schoenfield and Bradford Doolittle offer a look at what a shortened schedule could mean for each team’s season.

2019 record: 106-56
World Series odds: 3-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: If anything, a shortened season should only make the Dodgers stronger. They won’t have to worry as much about monitoring the workloads of veteran starters Clayton Kershaw and David Price or the innings for Julio Urias, who is projected to finally enter the rotation on a full-time basis. — David Schoenfield

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Enjoy Kershaw while we can


2019 record: 103-59
World Series odds: 3-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: Whether they are playing or not, more Yankees are probably injuring themselves even as these words are typed. But in theory, New York could begin the season at something like full strength, with the season-long absence of starter Luis Severino a glaring exception. Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and James Paxton all have time to heal up in time to be active whenever we finally get an Opening Day. — Bradford Doolittle

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Looking back at Judge’s 2017 HR Derby barrage


2019 record: 107-55
World Series odds: 8-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: Obviously the Astros’ rotation gets a tangible boost from a late start. Justin Verlander will have time to rehab his groin injury and could end up taking the Opening Day slot after all. Also, Tommy John returnee Lance McCullers Jr. shouldn’t need to have his cumulative workload as closely monitored. Intangibly, the Astros get a mental break from the avalanche of animosity they were buried with during spring training. For now, they are no longer in the eye of the storm. Will fans forget about their misdeeds altogether? Not a chance. But those misdeeds are no longer smoldering as hotly in the public consciousness. — Doolittle

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Game 5 of 2017 World Series a wild ride


2019 record: 96-66
World Series odds: 25-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: If, as was posited by Rob Mains of Baseball Prospectus, offense will be suppressed by a late start, the Rays could post epic run prevention numbers. They were already elite in that regard as it was. Then they would have three additional advantages in a shorter campaign: (1) Their star-studded rotation has a spotty recent injury history, but it wouldn’t have to be limited as much in a short season. (2) The Rays’ organizational depth and systematic approach to running a bullpen would stand out even more. (3) If bats are slow to start around baseball, the Rays’ elite defense would be there from the outset, improving their standing from a positional standpoint. — Doolittle

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Rays on top of farm system rankings


2019 record: 101-61
World Series odds: 16-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: The Twins might benefit as much as any team in the AL Central from a clipped campaign. As it was, Minnesota was just hoping to tread water with the innings missed by starter Rich Hill, who isn’t expected to be back from his elbow injury until June. The Twins don’t get a similar break with PED-suspended starter Michael Pineda, who will still have five weeks to sit out. But Minnesota gets more time for Byron Buxton to strengthen his surgically repaired shoulder. As much as anything, though, the Twins won’t have to map out as much rest time for advanced veterans Nelson Cruz and Josh Donaldson. — Doolittle

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Remembering Morris’ masterpiece


2019 record: 97-65
World Series odds: 14-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: The Braves were still unsettled in their rotation when spring training was interrupted, with Sean Newcomb, Kyle Wright, Touki Toussaint and Felix Hernandez battling for the final two spots. In a shorter season, it’s more imperative to get those decisions right from the get-go. They will also now have Cole Hamels for a larger chunk of the season, as he would not have been available at least until mid-May. — Schoenfield

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Albies will keep rising in MLB Rank


2019 record: 93-69
World Series odds: 20-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: Max Scherzer had missed a spring training start because of fatigue on his right side, which was more precautionary than anything (he felt no pain and didn’t require an MRI). Throw in all the innings Stephen Strasburg had thrown last year and the lack of depth in the rotation after the top five, and there had to be concerns about a World Series hangover (like what happened to the Red Sox’s rotation in 2019), but that should now be less of a concern. — Schoenfield

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Recalling Strasburg’s eye-opening ceiling


2019 record: 97-65
World Series odds: 20-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: Injury-addled starter A.J. Puk turned up with a shoulder strain this spring. While the injury wasn’t serious, it probably would have kept him from a March 26 roster spot. Now Puk could be in the mix from the start. Along with fellow prospect Jesus Luzardo, Puk brings star potential to the Oakland staff. Neither would have been ridden hard in the 2020 season, even as Oakland is positioned as a contender. Now, proportionally, they should be able to have a greater impact, giving the Athletics a better chance to be their ideal selves. — Doolittle

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Anticipating Semien’s follow-up act


2019 record: 93-69
World Series odds: 30-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: Rotation injuries hampered the Indians before the shutdown, and a late start gives Carlos Carrasco a chance to rest his inflamed elbow. And, all of a sudden, it is once again possible that Mike Clevinger — expected to be ready by late April or so — could return from his knee injury in time to make the Opening Day start he seemed destined for. — Doolittle

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: How Rajai Davis left us speechless


2019 record: 84-78
World Series odds: 20-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: The Cubs had several still unresolved roster battles going on: center field (Ian Happ, Albert Almora Jr.), second base (Nico Hoerner, David Bote, Jason Kipnis), fifth starter (Tyler Chatwood, Alec Mills) and the back of the bullpen. In a sense, these are all important decisions: The problems with the 2019 squad weren’t so much the top-line players, but the backups and role players, who were mostly awful. — Schoenfield

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Cubs’ Rachel Folden breaks through as full-time coach

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Tim Kurkjian takes us through some of the greatest moments in MLB Opening Day history as Opening Day 2020 will be delayed for just the second time in history.


2019 record: 86-76
World Series odds: 18-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: Yoenis Cespedes, who played only 36 games in 2018 and missed all of 2019 after surgery on both heels, was questionable for the original Opening Day, but now should be ready when baseball resumes. How much he has left at age 34 remains an unknown, but even with two surgically repaired heels, he can’t be any worse on defense than J.D. Davis or Dominic Smith. Meanwhile, the rotation will be without Noah Syndergaard for the next season and a half. — Schoenfield

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Alonso’s power-packed show


2019 record: 91-71
World Series odds: 12-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: Miles Mikolas (right flexor tendon strain) and Andrew Miller (had struggled in spring training) were both shaky for Opening Day, which probably had opened up a rotation spot for Carlos Martinez. With Mikolas now likely to be ready, that puts Martinez’s role back in limbo. Kwang-Hyun Kim had also looked good with eight scoreless innings, although the Cardinals would have liked to see him against tougher competition in the final weeks of spring training. — Schoenfield

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: David Freese, St. Louis superhero


2019 record: 75-87
World Series odds: 20-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: The Reds had a few injury issues when spring training was halted. Eugenio Suarez, who had shoulder surgery in late January after a swimming pool accident, was just getting ready for game action and manager David Bell has said there was a “strong chance” he would have been ready for Opening Day anyway. Nick Senzel, who had surgery for a torn labrum in September, had returned to DH but had yet to play in the field. He’s now more likely to be ready. Freddy Galvis had also been limited in spring training by a quad strain and sore shoulder and should now be OK. — Schoenfield

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Bauer’s social media presence


2019 record: 72-90
World Series odds: 20-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: For the Angels, it’s all about the possibility of having Shohei Ohtani ready to go as a two-way player by the eventual Opening Day, as he’s continuing his rehab work during the shutdown. Suddenly, the specter of repeating Babe Ruth’s historic 1918-19 impact looms. Those were Ruth’s only seasons as a true two-way player, and they also happened to be two shortened seasons. In 1918, Ruth led the AL in homers (11) and slugging percentage while, on the mound, he went 13-7. Returning to the present: The greater the portion of the Angels’ innings that can be covered by Ohtani, the better, because their rotation lacks star power. — Doolittle

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Trout, Rendon baseball’s dynamic duo


2019 record: 89-73
World Series odds: 50-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: Luis Urias, acquired from the Padres in the offseason to play shortstop over light-hitting Orlando Arcia, broke his hamate bone in winter ball and was questionable for the original Opening Day but could now be ready. Once a top prospect, Urias has struggled in the majors at the plate, with a .649 OPS over 300 plate appearances. But he doesn’t turn 23 until June and Arcia has just a .610 OPS over the past two seasons. — Schoenfield

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Yelich on Milwaukee: Where I want to be


2019 record: 85-77
World Series odds: 30-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: No significant change to Arizona’s outlook as the only injury of note in spring training was Mike Leake, who suffered a fractured wrist on his non-throwing arm and had been questionable for Opening Day. Given the options for the rotation, however, he was the No. 5 starter at best anyway. The Diamondbacks had planned to monitor Luke Weaver ‘s innings after his elbow issues last season, so that is less of a concern. — Schoenfield

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Bumgarner with D-backs an odd sight


2019 record: 81-81
World Series odds: 28-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: Left fielder Andrew McCutchen and relievers Tommy Hunter and Victor Arano would have missed the start of the season, but all three should now be ready when play resumes. McCutchen is the key player as he had scored 45 runs in 59 games with a .378 OBP last season when he injured his knee. The Phillies’ bullpen was also ravaged by injuries a year ago, so a healthy Hunter and Arano will provide additional depth. — Schoenfield

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Podcast — Victorino on ’08 Phillies


2019 record: 72-89
World Series odds: 15-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: The ideal version of the White Sox would gain more proportional exposure in a shortened season, enhancing playoff odds that would already be boosted by a smaller sample size. Tommy John returnee Michael Kopech would get a higher percentage of innings. The same would hold true for younger, innings-limited starters such as Dylan Cease and Reynaldo Lopez. And don’t forget about Carlos Rodon, who is aiming at a post-All-Star return. — Doolittle

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Moncada excited about White Sox’s talent


2019 record: 84-78
World Series odds: 75-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: Boston’s playoff odds have plummeted over the offseason, thanks to the dealing away of franchise cornerstone Mookie Betts, and punctuated by Chris Sale‘s season-ending elbow surgery. A short season gives the Red Sox a mathematical boost thanks to sheer randomness. If that’s not a marketing pitch, we don’t know what is. More tangibly, Boston won’t have as many innings to cover with what looks like a woefully thin starting rotation. — Doolittle

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Podcast — Roberts on steal, ’04 Red Sox


2019 record: 70-92
World Series odds: 22-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: Hard-throwing Andres Munoz, who averaged 99.9 mph on his fastball last season in his impressive 23-inning debut, had Tommy John surgery last week and is out for the season, so the Padres have lost a key setup reliever. The key question, though, is a how a shorter season affects the arrival of top prospect MacKenzie Gore. He has only five starts above Class A, but his stuff is big league ready. — Schoenfield

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Padres’ prospect pipeline is deep


2019 record: 78-84
World Series odds: 60-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: Willie Calhoun‘s jaw was cracked by a fastball during spring training and the delayed start gives him a chance to be ready by a rescheduled Opening Day. Beyond that, the biggest effect for the Rangers is that they get more time to put the finishing touches on their new ballpark, which would have staged its first regular-season game next week. Just make sure the Wi-Fi and the power outlets in the press box are functioning, guys, and the coverage of your unveiling should go fine. — Doolittle

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Hamilton’s Home Run Derby deluge


2019 record: 67-95
World Series odds: 100-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: The Blue Jays improved their rotation with their winter dealings, but the group still will lack an ace until fireballing prospect Nate Pearson arrives. He looked fantastic in spring training, but his high point in innings pitched in a professional season is the 101⅔ that he threw last season. Thus a midseason debut seemed likely for Pearson, even if he’s already the best pitcher in the organization. Now, the later the season starts, the shorter the period Toronto will run out a rotation that is not headed by its most talented performer.

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Jays’ young guns ready for next step


2019 record: 71-91
World Series odds: 100-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: One thing to factor in is how a shorter season affects the likelihood of trading Nolan Arenado. It could go either way. If play does start up, there are fewer games before the trade deadline on July 31, so the Rockies are more likely to be in the race. Or maybe the club figures it’s a lost season no matter what and decides to trade Arenado and retool the organization. — Schoenfield

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Arenado moving on from trade rumors


2019 record: 77-85
World Series odds: 100-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: The outlook for the Giants wasn’t exactly rosy and still isn’t. Pablo Sandoval was recovering from Tommy John surgery and not expected until mid-May, but he should now be ready. The closer situation was unsettled, especially with Tony Watson battling a sore shoulder, but he’s more likely to get the job now (and become trade bait). Top prospect Joey Bart could see his timeline affected. He would have been a possible midseason call-up, but the Giants might just save his service time now and wait until 2021. — Schoenfield

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Pence gives fans “love, kindness”


2019 record: 69-93
World Series odds: 400-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: The Pirates have a new general manager in Ben Cherington, a new manager in Derek Shelton and are coming off a 93-loss season, so this was supposed to be a rebuilding year and a chance to evaluate the organization. That now becomes more difficult, although the hope is that veterans such as Chris Archer and Keone Kela come out pitching well and become attractive trade options. The top prospect ready to make a push for a call-up is third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, who played at Triple-A last year but needs to improve with the bat. Similar to other prospects in his shoes, it will be interesting to see how the team handles him. — Schoenfield

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Pirates give 400 pizzas to medical workers


2019 record: 59-103
World Series odds: 250-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: The late start gives the Royals a chance to get injury returnees Adalberto Mondesi and Salvador Perez back to full strength. The bigger questions are about what happens to door-knocking rotation prospects Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, Kris Bubic and Brady Singer. Singer in particular seemed like a strong bet to make the original Opening Day roster. So do the Royals unleash these arms en masse on the American League, a la the 1984 KC rotation with rookies Bret Saberhagen, Danny Jackson and Mark Gubicza? Perhaps unlikely. But it would be fun. — Doolittle

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Anticipating Dozier’s breakout encore


2019 record: 57-105
World Series odds: 1,000-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: The Marlins had added veterans Jonathan Villar, Jesus Aguilar, Corey Dickerson and Matt Joyce to provide competition and depth after last year’s team struggled to score runs. It wasn’t exactly clear how things were going to shake out as far as playing. Does a shorter season make it more likely the Marlins just play the vets or more likely they give more opportunities to players like Isan Diaz, Lewis Brinson and Harold Ramirez? — Schoenfield

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Marlins have top-10 farm system


2019 record: 68-94
World Series odds: 250-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: It might not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but the Mariners should be able to rely more on a core group of starting pitchers in a shortened season. Kendall Graveman and Taijuan Walker are both trying to reestablish themselves after major injuries, and venerable prospect Justus Sheffield threw 169 innings across three levels in 2019, the only season in which he has reached a level that would get him through a full MLB season. — Doolittle

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Kurkjian’s first look at The Kid


2019 record: 47-114
World Series odds: 1,000-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: The question of what might happen to the timeline of topflight prospects who might have (or still will) debut in the 2020 season is an industry-wide quandary. So it will be for the Tigers, whose top pitching prospects — Casey Mize and Matt Manning — have not pitched above Double-A. Will they be pushed up or back? At the other end of the age spectrum: Every game Miguel Cabrera loses hurts his chances of reaching 3,000 hits or 500 homers this season. — Doolittle

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: What does Miggy have left?


2019 record: 54-108
World Series odds: 1,000-1

How they’re impacted by the shutdown: The Orioles’ biggest issue is that it’s not just MLB teams that are in stasis, and Baltimore’s top prospects are stuck waiting for game competition at the minor league level along with everyone else. Beyond that, you kind of feel for Chris Davis. After two horrendous seasons, he was crushing it in Florida, putting up a 1.682 OPS with only three strikeouts over nine spring games. A mirage? Quite likely. But now he loses the chance to hit the regular season running with a head full of confidence to prove that it wasn’t. — Doolittle

While you’re waiting for Opening Day: Podcast — Bill Ripken joins Buster Olney

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Tim Kurkjian’s baseball fix – How do you spell Rob Zastryzny again?

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You love baseball. Tim Kurkjian loves baseball. So while we await its return, every day we’ll provide you with a story or two tied to this date in baseball history.

ON THIS DATE IN 1992, Rob Zastryzny was born.

This is an appropriate beginning because my last name has been mangled my entire life. And the daily editor on this project is Nick Pietruszkiewicz, whose last name is so impenetrable, people have nearly choked trying to navigate through it.

Rob Zastryzny pronounces his name Za-Striz-Knee. He pitched for the Chicago Cubs from 2016 to 2018, and he began spring training this season as a non-roster invitee for the Baltimore Orioles. He and Marc Rzepczynski, also a left-handed reliever, have the most unpronounceable and unspellable baseball names in recent history, but Zep-Chin-Ski doesn’t have two Z’s and two Y’s in his last name.

The full “On this date …” archive

“When the guy at the front desk of the hotel first looks at my name, his first reaction is of suppressed shock,” Zastryzny said. “Then he tries not to look surprised even when I say it out loud for him. The most common mispronunciation is Stris-ski — that happens twice every day. My all-time favorite, though, is Smith. In a high school game, the public address guy got it so wrong my first two at-bats, parents were going to the press box to tell him how to say it correctly. The third time at bat, he said, ‘Now batting, at first base, No. 10, Rob Smith.’

“No one, not on the first try, has ever spelled my name correctly, even when they are looking right at it. And when I was a kid, I had a lisp, so I couldn’t say my own name correctly until I was in the third grade. My teammates now just call me Rob Z. Or Z. Or if you’re (Orioles manager) Brandon Hyde and you have to write it out every day, I’m Z-Man.”

My wish would have been for Zastryzny to have pitched in a game to catcher Doug Gwosdz, who played briefly for the San Diego Padres, from 1981 to 1984. His name is pronounced Gooosh. His nickname, the best in baseball history, was Eye Chart. “Look at his name, and cover one eye with your hand,” said former Texas Rangers manager Doug Rader. “It looks like an eye chart.”

Zastryzny and Gwosdz. What a battery. If only Ed or Nelson Figueroa could have loaned a vowel.

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In 2016, the Cubs proved then-rookie reliever Rob Zastryzny’s name was absolutely baffling to all of his teammates and manager.

Other baseball notes from March 26

  • In 1940, Ty Cobb advised Joe DiMaggio to use a 36-ounce bat, not a 40-ounce bat; Tony Gwynn, at the end of his great career, used a 30½-ounce bat.

  • In 1947, Indians manager Lou Boudreau threw infielder Jackie Price off the team train after Price let loose two, 5-foot-long snakes. Price is the strangest player in baseball history. He taught himself to catch and throw a baseball while standing on his head. He could throw a fastball with one hand and a curveball with the other — at the same time. Price also taught himself how to hit while hanging upside down from a trapeze. When the conductor caught Price with the snakes and asked for his name, Price said, “I’m Lou Boudreau.”

  • In 1973, George Sisler died; his 257 hits in 1920 were the most in a season until Ichiro broke his record with 262 in 2004. Also in 1973, the Red Sox released Rico Petrocelli; he is one of six players to hit 40 homers in a season with at least 10 letters in his last name: Roy Campanella, Ted Kluszewski, Carl Yastrzemski, Curtis Granderson and Edwin Encarnacion.

  • In 2000, the Kingdome was detonated; it took 16 seconds to collapse.

  • In 1936, Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas was born. The 1993 Phillies would not begin their celebration for winning the National League pennant until Kalas arrived in the clubhouse to sing their clinching song — “High Hopes.” He was that great of a singer, and that beloved.

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Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo on missing Opening Day, coping with ‘strange time’

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This past Monday, when his team would have been finishing spring training and heading to Milwaukee for Opening Day if not for the coronavirus outbreak, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, a former Roberto Clemente Award winner and Man of the Year in MLB, wrote an essay for ESPN.com from his home in South Florida through ESPN MLB reporter Jesse Rogers.

Today, we were supposed to be flying out from spring training, all excited for the start of a new season and on the plane to Milwaukee for Opening Day.

As the weeks go on, all of us are going to be missing baseball more and more. I miss playing already. I miss being around the guys. It’s why I believe you have to keep your brain moving in some way. Athletes are in such a marathon mode during the season and now we have to turn that mentally off, while still staying physically fit.

It’s just such a strange time. The more all of us can stay connected to others, the better we all are. Whether you are a professional athlete or a fan, just trying to stay positive right now, it is so important to keep moving any way you can.

You can be in your living room, doing pushups and situps. Maybe you don’t work out. Just do something to stay active as a way of not just falling into a hole because it’s very easy to do that.

We’re all used to socializing all the time. But right now, we are not. We are at home and it is easy to just sit around and do nothing, but for me, that just doesn’t work. My message and biggest piece of advice: Get into some sort of routine, daily, to get you through so you’re not just wasting away time. Somehow make the most of this forced downtime.

We have to keep moving and keep people encouraged. Sports usually does that. Sports brings people together who normally would not even think about conversing or socializing. Not having sports is so strange. But we have to stay connected.

I’m on a bunch of group texts with teammates and friends. That’s all you can do, especially in the big cities. I’m lucky right now I’m in my backyard so I can move around a little bit, but it’s safer to be in isolation. This is everyone’s opportunity to be a hero by staying away.

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And it’s a good opportunity for everyone to check back in with themselves. Work on themselves. Starting today, my wife, Emily, and I are picking one chore a day. Just doing something around the house that we normally wouldn’t do just to keep our minds moving.

We have also tried to be very active in helping the community during this difficult time. The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation has been sending meals to the health care workers on the front lines at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Florida. We’ll be sending them to other hospitals directly linked to the coronavirus treatment as well. We’re just trying to spread the love and keep encouraging our doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who are in the thick of this thing. What they’re doing is amazing. I keep thinking about them. Supporting people is so important. And checking in on people is huge. Being alone is not easy.

This is for our parents and grandparents. We want them to be around for a long time. Young people might feel good and healthy, but from what I’ve heard from doctors, you can spread the virus with no symptoms. It is tough being away from my parents right now, but I know it is the right thing to do. So we have to stay together and connected in other ways.

In terms of my new workout routine, I just got back to Florida so we’re just settling in, but I’ll do something to keep in baseball shape. I see the basketball players shooting baskets with socks and Willson [Contreras] having his brother pitch to him with a Nerf gun. I need one of those. Emily is a great athlete, so maybe she can pitch to me a little bit.

It’s going to be really strange missing Opening Day. There’s nothing like Opening Day at Wrigley Field. That should have been next week. It’s a strange time not to be at the park with my teammates and the fans. We all miss it, but we’re hopeful there will still be one. We just have to wait and stay healthy right now. I hope that for everyone.

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