Phillies manager Joe Girardi discusses upcoming challenges as ‘spring training 2.0’ begins next week
Baseball is back. New Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi joined his former colleagues at MLB Network Wednesday evening to discuss current events surrounding the team, as well as his thoughts on “spring training 2.0” and the upcoming season.
Managing not just players, but COVID-positive cases
When Girardi joined the Phillies this offseason after spending much of the last decade as the New York Yankees skipper, surely he had no idea that he would have to manage a pandemic affecting his players before making decisions in the dugout at Citizens Bank Park.
As of early this week, the Phillies announced that seven players and five staff members tested positive for COVID-19. And, of those seven players, six had recently used the team’s training facilities in Clearwater, Florida.
While the identities of the players have not been identified, Girardi says he and the team frequently checks in on them to make sure they are doing OK.
“Most of them, the symptoms have been very mild, but [they still will be] quarantined for two weeks,” Girardi says.
And, as part of the recently agreed 101-page manual for the 2020 season, the players will still have a ways to go in terms of getting back on the baseball diamond — even after symptoms and the virus itself subsides.
“You have to be tested a number of times before you can come back. Once you come back, you can’t just dive right back in,” Girardi says.
Following the proper guidelines
The skipper called out pandemic’s seriousness and the “huge responsibility” on the sports industry to assure things are done the right way, that they protect each other, and that the guidelines are followed.
There is complexity as it relates to maintaining proper social distancing and staying six-feet apart, especially in baseball.
“You think about a clubhouse, 60 players in spring training, using different fields, and transferring. And, once they leave the facility, they have to come back, and their temperature is taken,” Girardi says. “It is really complicated.”
Phillies stadium employees are already on top of things. Girardi says a lot has been “thrown” on grounds crew and training staff to do things quickly, with players able to start showing up to Citizens Bank Park and needing to be tested as early as this Friday.
“Spring training can start as early as July 1. A full-squad can start on July 3. They have a lot to do,” he adds.