LOS ANGELES -- While overseeing the current workout regimen of the Dodgers from a safe distance, Brandon McDaniel decided to do the same for Los Angeles fans.
Starting Friday, the club’s director of player performance will launch a live training program on the club’s YouTube, Twitter and Facebook Live pages to help people stay active during the city's Safe at Home order. The plan is to stream on Monday and Friday mornings at 8 a.m. PT and for each session to last roughly 30 minutes.
“We just want to find a way to excite the population and Dodgers fans that are home and practicing social-distancing policies and give them an insight into how we train our guys that aren’t fortunate enough to have a gym at home and are working out in the living room or garages,” said McDaniel. “Just trying to find a positive spin in this situation that everybody’s in right now and make the best of it and challenge some people that have wanted to work on their fitness and not had the time to do it. Now’s a great opportunity to take some baby steps toward those goals.”
For the streamed workouts, McDaniel will offer viewers fan-friendly exercises that players also might be doing on their own. There are no workouts happening at Dodger Stadium or at the club’s Arizona complex.
“We have no idea when this is going to end, but when it ends, everything’s going to move really fast. So that ramp-up period is going to be really quick,” McDaniel said. “I describe it as hovering right now. Our starting pitchers were so close to being fully built up. Now, almost three weeks without doing anything is a pretty tough blow. We’ve never had to deal with anything like this before.”
McDaniel said that whenever play resumes, he will be concerned about injuries because of the increased velocity that comes with game speed. He doesn’t believe intense throwing for pitchers is wise now, with the possibility of the season lasting late into the year.
“We’re going to learn some good things for sure on the other end about what bodies are capable of doing, how much time is really needed for Spring Training,” McDaniel said. “Without a doubt, I am extremely cautious and mindful of what can happen with a fast ramp-up.”
Since Spring Training was paused more than two weeks ago, McDaniel and his staff have remotely attempted the difficult and uncharted task of monitoring player workouts from afar without knowing when action will resume. Programs are individualized for each player.
“Clayton [Kershaw] and Walker [Buehler] are both starting pitchers that we’ll need at the beginning of the season, but their workouts look completely different,” McDaniel said. “Even the ability to do a Zoom workout for the starting pitchers wouldn’t be possible.”
McDaniel said he’s been in contact with the Los Angeles Football Club, which has common owners with the Dodgers, as well as counterparts with the Mamba Academy, TCU, Clemson and Mississippi State to share home-workout ideas. He’s also challenged his players to offer creative suggestions for their teammates, citing Gavin Lux borrowing professional equipment from a friend’s Milwaukee gym as an early offering.
“Number 1 is fitness, if you’re locked in a house, wherever you might be, being fit and having the ability to exercise, to release endorphins and get hormones going is really good for your mental health right now,” McDaniel said.