On Wednesday, May 20, Jenny Cavnar visited via Zoom with David Dahl, Ryan McMahon, and Trevor Story. They discussed how they’re spending life in quarantine (with hygiene, food, and popular culture getting a lot of attention) and their thoughts on a potential 2020 season. The conversation also included a lot of good-natured ribbing.
Quarantine routines: keeping in shape and watching television
Currently, Dahl and McMahon are in Arizona with plans to return to Denver soon; Story is in Dallas.
David Dahl’s grooming decisions, including growing a beard currently in a pre-Chuck Nazty stage, received attention. “I just don’t care right now,” Dahl said. “I’ve never been able to grow [my beard] this long.” He added, “My wife hates it” and noted that Charlie Blackmon told him in an Instagram poll that he should shave.
“He’s been growing that since last year,” Story joked, adding, “All of our routines are totally shot right now,” including that players can’t risk getting a haircut.
“When it comes time, we’ll be looking sharp,” Story said. “David will be getting back to his GQ ways.”
Cavnar asked the players how they’ve been spending their days. In addition to daily workouts with his wife, Story says, “I’ve been doing a lot of reading, watching a lot of Netflix and The Last Dance, playing some Yahtzee. Just finding ways to keep ourselves entertained.”
Dahl spent part of the quarantine playing in the MLB: The Show tournament. Dahl said, “It was fun. I enjoyed it. It was also hard because I sucked.” Story and McMahon pointed out they were the only players Dahl was able to score with in the game. Dahl said, “In real life, I swing at everything, and in the game, I swung at everything.”
Dahl also said that he works out a few times a week and hits whenever he can.
“When I’m home, I spend all day in the pool with Rookie.” His wife, Jacquelyn, works all day. At night they watch Netflix, though Dahl added that he doesn’t cook. “Thankfully,” he said, “I have a chef out here.”
This made McMahon laugh, who explained that Dahl “abuses” Postmates and Uber Eats. [Author’s note: Dahl came across in this conversation as a serious fan of fast food.]
For McMahon, the hardest thing about quarantine life is staying in shape because of the uncertainty: “I think it’s not having a set date, a set idea for when we’re going to be starting things up again.” he said.
In the off season, McMahon has focused on playing second base although he wants to remain an option for Bud Black if he’s needed in another position.
McMahon also said he’s “playing a lot of Chinese Checkers and watching a lot of Netflix.” He binged Ozark in two weeks while his fiancée loves Dead to Me. Dahl has been watching Outerbanks.
“That was entertaining but pretty far fetched,” Story noted.
They’ve been watching The Last Dance, too, though McMahon has four episodes left and asked the others not to spoil anything for him. Cavnar asked for their biggest takeaways.
“It fires you up,” Dahl said, “[Jordan’s] work ethic, how much he pushed his teammates to get better. That was cool.”
Story added, “His mental game was unmatched by anyone in any sport. I think that’s what separated him, his intensity and how he tried to get better.” He also pointed out, “It’s tough to do that with baseball just because of the volume of the season, to live or die like that. I have so much respect him even more after seeing that.”
“He never asked his teammates to do something he wouldn’t do,” McMahon said, “He took his teammates with him to those breaking points. I think it’s awesome.”
Cavnar then asked them to describe a new skill they’ve learned during quarantine.
“Patience,” Dahl said.
‘We will see about that,” Story joked.
Dahl explained that he intended to become more selective at the plate.
Story said, “I’ve been refining my tools. A thing I’ve learned during the quarantine is not taking things for granted. You realize how much you love the game and the freedom to do what you want.”
McMahon’s new skills are a bit more domestic: “I’ve gotten better at flipping pancakes with just the pan, not the spatula.”
Given that they are spending more time at home, Cavnar asked them to describe the worst chore they do.
“Breaking down boxes,” Dahl said. “I’m so over it.”
“The problem is they’re not for us,” McMahon added.
They also had thoughts on washing dishes. Story said he’s putting up a lot of dishes to which McMahon said, “I’d rather do dishes. I hate emptying the dishwasher.”
“That’s my job,” Story said. “Cabinet to cabinet, unloading it.”
Dahl’s dog, Rookie, spends the day getting in and out of the pool. “Having to dry him off every time,” Dahl sighed.
Cavnar asked them where they’d like to get a meal in Denver. Story said Matsuhisa, McMahon said tacos at Machete, and Dahl said, “I usually Postmates. Wendy’s, I don’t know.” Then after giving it some thought, he added the Chop House by Coors Field.
Story: “This dude said Wendy’s.”
Dahl: “I’m joking.” [Author’s note: He did not appear to be joking.]
Returning to baseball
All three are optimistic about playing baseball.
“For me, I feel good about [playing baseball soon],” Story said. “You can’t speak for every player, but for a lot of us, we think it’s going to happen. Obviously, a lot of things need to be in line, a lot of precautions that need to be taken.” He also stressed the importance of keeping everyone safe.
In terms of safety, Dahl said, “There’s stuff that worries me. I trust MLB and the doctors that they’re not going to make us go play and put us at risk. Looking at the safety protocols, I think they’re doing a good job.” (Dahl is in an at-risk category should play resume.)
McMahon stressed, however, that, he can be ready to play quickly.
“I can’t speak for everybody,” he said, “but I think the vast majority of us have focused on keeping our bodies ready and keeping in baseball shape.” McMahon thinks that while hitters will need to work on their timing at the plate, they’re ready.
All three see changes coming to their routines in the age of COVID-19.
Story said, “I think if we’re able to play, then it’s going to be totally different than what’s we’ve gotten used to. There’s going to be a lot different about routines, but baseball’s all about adjustment, so we’ll figure it out.”
McMahon added, “You’ve just got to go into it not expecting anything and being ready to adjust,” and Dahl said, “We’ll adjust based on the information we get.”
“My grandma will be so happy with the no spitting rule,” McMahon chuckled.
Baseball odds and ends
They were then asked about the players they watched growing up.
“I love Shawn Green. I was a Dodgers fan growing up,” McMahon said, “And, of course, Jeter.”
“Jeter for me,” Dahl said, “and Chipper Jones. I wanted to be a switch hitter.” (This brought laughs from his teammates.)
“My all-time guy is Jeter,” Story said. “Just playing short, that’s my guy. I looked up to Tulo and Michael Young. I love Ken Griffey, Jr., too.”
Dahl was asked about going to his first All-star Game.
“It was unbelievable,” he said. “It was awesome to go with Trevor, Charlie, and Nolan.” The memory that stood out for Dahl was when Dave Roberts called a team meeting, and he saw all the great players in the room.
“And then getting a hit in my at bat was awesome,” he added.
“It’s always so hectic,” Story said, “and you’re always doing something, so you don’t get a break, but year two, I was much more comfortable with what was going on. The fist one, I think I asked Nolan like 50 questions each day.” He pointed out that Dahl will be more comfortable the next time he goes.
Cavnar asked who was in the best shape and who was fastest.
“Me!” McMachon shouted.
The players all gave each other a hard time before McMahon said, “Blizzard Boy [Dahl] shouldn’t be saying he’s the fastest guy.” Dahl and McMahon disagreed over who was fastest before Story said, “This is for second place.”
After Dahl said he could beat Story in a 60-yard dash, Story said, “Don’t lie to our fans like that.”
McMahon joked, “If I get a five-yard head start, I beat both of them in a 50-yard dash. I’m not gifted like these two.”
Cavnar said there are rumors that Nolan Arenado has been working on his speed and sent a video to his teammates.
According to Dahl, Arenado wants to steal ten bases this year.
“I think he can do it,” Dahl said, “No one’s paying attention to him out there.”
“He’s instinctual,” Story said, “but pure foot speed? I don’t know.”
In terms of the toughest pitchers they’ve faced, answers varied.
“For me the toughest guy would be [Jacob] deGrom with the Mets,” Story started. “Him or [Max] Scherzer. Or Gerrit Cole. There’s a lot of guys. Those guys’ stuff is just next level.” He added, “You have to be perfect against those guys.”
For Dahl, Madison Bumgarner is challenging. He said, “Patrick Corbin and Robbie Ray are tough on me with their sliders. They kinda carved me up.”
McMahon agreed about Bumgarner: “He hides the ball so well.”
On the flip said, when asked who they were thankful they didn’t face, all three agreed: Germán Márquez. Dahl added, “I think Freeland as a lefty would be tough.”
As the call ended, Story spoke to the fans.
“We miss you guys, miss playing for you guys,” he said. “We can’t wait.”