BROWNSBURG, Ind. — Are you frustrated that there are no sports to watch? Imagine what it’s been like for the players.
Gyms and other facilities are closed, so baseball players, like Tucker Barnhart of the Cincinnati Reds, have been forced to find other ways to stay in shape while the start of the season has been put on hold because of the coronavirus.
“I work out probably between three and five times a week,” the Brownsburg native told The Dan Dakich Show on 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis Tuesday. “I hit probably two or three times a week and I have a throwing program that I do four or five times a week.”
It’s been almost two weeks since MLB teams shut down their spring training facilities and sent players home.
“Once the NBA shut down … it just seemed inevitable, I guess, that we were going to have to shut down,” Barnhart said. He added that it was weird to pack up before Spring Training was supposed to end.
“Normally when you pack up, you’re either leaving from Spring Training to get ready for Opening Day, or you’re packing up to go home once the season is over, and you know how long of a time you have off.”
The former Gold Glove winner says players have been told that once the “gathering ban” is lifted or lessened, teams can get back together and get back to work. But he says he’s come to the realization that they probably won’t be starting the season in May.
“I tell my wife to not tell me what the actual date is,” he said. “Tell me what the day of the week it is, but not the date. Because knowing it’s only March 31, and the reality of not playing until later in the summer makes me furious.”
However, Barnhart acknowledges the reason why everything had to be postponed, calling it “the right thing to do” but also says it’s “sad.”
When the day comes that it is deemed safe to play baseball again, Barnhart says he’s worried players won’t be completely prepared, because they’ll need a few weeks to get back into a rhythm before playing.
“I don’t know if we’re going to have the luxury of telling teams or telling Major League Baseball, ‘this is what it will take.’ I feel like they’re going to give us, ‘hey, you have this number of days to get ready or someone else will’ kind of thing.”
Barnhart hopes that when they do get to start the season, it will be in front of packed crowds. But even if they have to play in empty ballparks, he just wants to give something for sports fans to watch on TV.
As for all the talk around the MLB on what will constitute as a “full season,” Barnhart says he doesn’t care how many games they play, as long as there is a postseason and a trophy to play for.
“If you play a season and there’s no real thing at the end of it, I don’t think it’ll be a legitimate year.”
LISTEN TO ON-AIR VERSIONS OF THE STORY:
LISTEN TO BARNHART’S INTERVIEW WITH DAN DAKICH: