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Stearns: 'We will be prepared to get it going'

@AdamMcCalvy
May 14, 2020

MILWAUKEE -- They were two small gestures. On Thursday at lunch time, the Brewers helped deliver meals for some of Milwaukee’s front-line medical workers. Then, in the evening, they hosted a (virtual) gathering for baseball fans feeling glum while the sports world remains paused. Two modest efforts to keep the

MILWAUKEE -- They were two small gestures. On Thursday at lunch time, the Brewers helped deliver meals for some of Milwaukee’s front-line medical workers. Then, in the evening, they hosted a (virtual) gathering for baseball fans feeling glum while the sports world remains paused.

Two modest efforts to keep the community connected during a pandemic.

“I think there are a litany of reasons for why it’s important to be here today,” said Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns, who, with help from Milwaukee’s firefighters, delivered lunches to doctors, nurses and other hospital workers at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee. “This is such a unique circumstance for everyone in our country, for everyone in our community, and none more so than the people who are working in this building behind us. We want to do anything we can to support that.”

Of course, the Brewers had hoped to be playing ball on Thursday night. The MLB season remains on hold due to the pandemic, and Stearns said he is “very hopeful” that games will be played this year.

“The truth is, we don’t know what scenario is coming,” Stearns said. “I don’t think anyone knows. There is a lot to be determined, not only in terms of what life looks like for all of us going forward as people and a society, but for baseball.

“There isn’t any clarity at this point. There are ideas. There is speculation. Currently, there are negotiations and discussions ongoing. Clearly, we have to be prepared for anything. We will be prepared. If we get the go-ahead from public health officials and governmental officials and the necessary agreements can be reached, we will be prepared to get it going. We will be happy if we are able to do that.”

Asked what he views as the biggest challenge to a potential MLB restart, Stearns said, “First and foremost is the health and safety of everybody involved. That is the primary focus of all discussions that are ongoing.”

The lunch that Stearns helped deliver was courtesy of the Brewers, Crescent Capital (Brewers prinicipal owner Mark Attanasio’s investment firm), Wahlburgers restaurant and Hy-Vee, Inc., who planned to distribute 1,000 meals on Thursday and Friday to Aurora facilities in Milwaukee, West Allis and Cudahy.

It was part of Wahlburgers’ recently launched #WhateverYouNeed campaign, a partnership with Crescent Capital to bring warm meals to first responders, hospital workers, nursing homes and other front-line heroes battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Crescent is proud to partner with Wahlburgers to serve the heroes on the frontlines in Milwaukee, as well as in communities deeply impacted by the pandemic across the country,” Attanasio said. “We have been so inspired by the hospital staff at Aurora, who have been tirelessly serving the community for the past several weeks, and are grateful to be able to help serve them as they keep all of us safe during this difficult time.”

Later in the day, it was time to touch base with the fans via another virtual happy hour hosted by Brewers TV play-by-play man Brian Anderson. This time, his guests included Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman, Brewers manager Craig Counsell and reliever Corey Knebel.

Among the highlights: Counsell employing the night’s best virtual background courtesy of a famous photo of him mowing the lawn in full uniform. The riding mower was a gift of Hoffman, who’d won the machine at a charity auction.

“We can’t put baseball on the field right now, but we can have some fun right now,” Counsell said.

Said Hoffman, who offered a shoutout to medical and food service workers who have continued to work during the pandemic: “Let’s just all pull on that same rope and get through this together.”

Stearns said he’s been optimistic for the past month or so about baseball’s prospects to return in 2020. He’s hopeful about Milwaukee’s efforts against the pandemic, as well.

“My hope is that we as a community continue to do the outstanding job locally that we’ve done,” he said. “I think if you look around the country, there are few states, few communities that have handled this from top to bottom as well as we have, in terms of containing the virus locally. My hope is that we continue to do that. It’s a tremendous credit to our workers on the front lines.

“From a baseball standpoint, we all hope that we can provide a diversion, that we can be part of the solution to what everyone is going through right now, and that we can do so in a safe, responsible manner.”

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.