Flowers talks safety precautions, prep for '20 

June 26th, 2020

ATLANTA -- As the Braves’ player representative, has spent the past few weeks regularly keeping his teammates updated regarding the negotiations between Major League Baseball and the Players Association.

Now that the stage has been set for the 2020 season to unfold, Flowers understands the significant responsibility he and every other big leaguer will have to adhere to the safety protocols implemented to guard against the spread of COVID-19.

“The more we take it serious and follow the rules, the more it’s going to benefit everybody within our team, our family, organization, the game and the country,” Flowers said. “I think it’s imperative we all adhere to [the policies] and follow them and take them serious even if we’re not high-risk ourselves. A number of people around us could really struggle if they ended up getting this virus, so we have to be on top of it as much as we can.”

When the Braves begin gathering for what we’ll refer to as Summer Camp next week, Flowers expects there will be many more discussions about the steps and sacrifices players and staff members will need to take over the next few months.

Braves outfielder has Type 1 diabetes and thus falls into the high-risk category. There may also be some additional concern for how the virus could impact some of the older members of the organization. Four members of the coaching staff are 60 or older.

“With Duvall’s situation, he has to stay on top of things,” Flowers said. “But we all have that same responsibility -- not just for ourselves but for guys like Duvall who are high-risk -- to follow the protocols that have been put in place. That’s going to [help] ourselves and our families, but it’s also going to benefit teammates and guys who have a little different health situation and who are high-risk.”

As the past few months have evolved, Flowers has remained close to the suburban Atlanta home he shares with his wife and five children. The 34-year-old catcher has been able to take some swings in the batting cage located on his property, but he has not been able to get away from the house to catch , , and some of the other Braves pitchers who have been working at some high school and college fields around the area.

Much of Flowers’ time over the past few weeks was spent participating in calls with union officials. The negotiations might have taken longer and proven more frustrating than he and others would have liked. But with all of this now in the rear-view mirror, he is looking forward to enjoying what will be a unique and potentially extremely exciting season.

“I just view [the negotiations] as part of the business,” Flowers said. “There are two sides to it. Both sides had something they were attempting to achieve. I think both sides would potentially have done things different to get things done sooner. But ultimately, we ended up with the season and I think a lot of people weren’t that optimistic from the get-go about even having a season.

“From that regard, you could call it somewhat of a success. But it definitely wasn’t streamlined. It was a little stressful. There were a lot of conversations that a lot of times ended up going nowhere. But ultimately, the original agreement is where we ended up. Hopefully, we’ll still get something in this year to play some ball, have some fun and give people something to watch.”