Bud Black gave some updates on Charlie Blackmon on Thursday, saying that he believes the four-time All-Star could be ready to play with the Rockies when they officially start Summer Camp action on July 24 against the Texas Rangers. News broke that Blackmon had tested positive for COVID-19 on June 23. He had been working out and training at Coors Field, but has since returned back to his home in Georgia.
Blackmon would obviously need time to train and prepare for playing in MLB games, but Black sounds optimistic: “Leading up to Charlie not feeling well, he was in great shape, swinging the bat, getting a lot of reps in here at Coors Field — hitting, throwing, running, getting ready for whenever the season would start. So I think it’ll be a pretty quick ramp-up for Chuck.”
If Blackmon needs more time to get healthy and be ready for the season, luckily, the Rockies have some good backup options for the outfield. Black also mentioned the organization’s philosophy of giving minor league outfielders time in all three outfield positions as a benefit, especially for Raimel Tapia and Sam Hilliard. Even though David Dahl is slated for center field, he could move to right, a position where new Rockie Matt Kemp, who has spent a big chunk of his MLB career, could also play. Garrett Hampson, who started 20 games in center and played 31 games there total in 2019, and Chris Owings could rotate in center field. Hilliard played 17 games in center field last year, including 11 starts, while Tapia roamed center field in 13 games in 2019, starting nine of them. Tapia and Hilliard are more suited for left, but Kemp could also fill in there too. It’s a nice merry-go-round situation where several Rockies can get on an off whenever and wherever needed.
The challenges are too long the list as the MLB tries to restart during a pandemic that ESPN’s Aiden Gonzalez points out has infected 3 million Americans with the COVID-19 virus and led to over 130,000 deaths. In a 60-game Summer Camp season that is set to kick off in two weeks, Gonzalez quotes a veteran infielder who said, “The team that has the fewest positive cases is gonna win the World Series.”
Gonzalez admits this might perhaps be exaggerated, but also it might not be. He discusses the abnormalities of the season in which any team could go on a run and reach the postseason, but the probability of that run could depend largely on “discipline and accountability,” both on and off the field, for players, coaches, and staff, and to some extent, all their families.
It’s definitely going to be hard. It’s going to be breaking habits and routines and staying mindful of new protocols. One of the hardest things about it is the length — 12 weeks, and maybe even longer for players and staff on teams that make it to the postseason.
The policies, which involve players getting tested for COVID-19 every other day, also have to work, specifically getting the test results in a timely manner, which was a problem over the 4th of July weekend. The MLB has since said it does “not expect a recurrence” of this problem.
If the Rockies can stick to the protocols and take all the possible precautions, it should give them an advantage in the wins and losses column. More importantly, it will keep the human beings that make up the Rockies organization safe and healthy, especially higher-risk players like Scott Oberg and Dahl.
Gonzalez ends the article with a quote from Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis: “If you happen to get the virus and you’re doing everything the right way, that’s one thing. But if you’re doing things that you shouldn’t be doing and you get sick, then you’re going to have to answer to a clubhouse full of guys.”
After opening with six paragraphs of warnings to temper expectations of the MLB pulling off a 2020 season, Mile High Sports’ John Reidy proceeds with cautious optimism of what having a limited number of fans at Coors Field could look like this summer in light of the Rockies submitting a plan for it to be reviewed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
By Reidy’s estimation, it would be 10,000 max mask-wearing fans who follow non-congregating and one-way walking rules, some kind of line mitigation (which could be eased by not selling beer and limiting concessions), and possibly phased exits to limit clogged-funnel gatherings at gates.
Then Reidy, understandably without answers, throws out the many and complicated logistical challenges in terms of how seating would work and who would get to go (Would it be a mix of season-ticket holders and everyday fans?). Understanding all the risks, Reidy, who states he “was already social distancing back in early March and I still take the virus very seriously,” says he would still go – not only to catch a baseball game, but for the historic experience of a baseball game in the time of COVID.
Purple Row’s Renee Dechert wrote about possible 2020 Coors Field attendance in terms of what a fan-less season could be like, as well as ideas on artificial fan noise and cardboard cutouts of fans. Only time will tell how fans will be watching this 2020 season.
If you could go to Coors Field to see a Rockies game this season, would you go?
This poll is closed
Yes, without hesitation.
Yes, as long as there are strict and enforceable social distancing policies in place.
Maybe. It depends on price and policies.
No. I love baseball, but it’s not worth the risk.
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