Mike Freeman's daily Summer Camp report

July 24th, 2020

Follow along with Indians infielder Mike Freeman as he chronicles each day of Summer Camp ahead of the Tribe's July 24 opener against the Royals at Progressive Field.

Day 24 -- Wednesday, July 22
First road trip of the year for me. As I showed up to the stadium, I received a text from Tito asking if I could stop by his office on my way in. With Opening Day two days away, I had an idea what it could be about.

Tito and Chris Antonetti were there waiting for me. They informed me I would be on the Opening Day roster. This will be my first Opening Day in the big leagues, so it was exciting to receive the news.

After we got that part out of the way, it was time to get ready for Pittsburgh. The travel committee has done a great job of coordinating schedules so there are never too many people on one bus. We have three buses heading to Pittsburgh. The first is for staff so they can arrive, get situated and be out of the locker room before the players arrive. The second bus is for the starting pitcher, starting position players and the relievers. The third bus is the extra position players. The idea is to limit the amount of people on each bus so we can be spaced apart as well as limit the traffic in the clubhouse at any given time.

The game was moved up from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m. due to the threat of weather, which turned the game into a show and go, meaning we show up and go play. No batting practice or the usually pregame workouts. We do what we need to do to get ready and go play.

Every stadium will be different from what we are used to in years past. For instance, my locker was in the middle of the clubhouse to maintain space between lockers. I believe there were eight total lockers positioned in the middle of the room. Also, the pregame food was in a fan lounge area as opposed to the usual food room that is a part of the clubhouse. Finding these places in the labyrinth of a stadium can be a challenge. It will be interesting to see how each ballpark handles protocols during the season.

For the game in Pittsburgh, the players on the bench got to take in the game from a fan’s perspective. We sat behind home plate under tents they set up to block the sun. It could be worse.

A quick game summary. Adam Civale threw well despite Josh Bell hitting one of the most bizarre home runs I have ever seen. Carlos Santana and José Ramírez each homered early, and Christian Arroyo gave us some insurance with a home run late. James Karinchak worked out of trouble to seal another win. Nothing to report from Yu Chang or Bradley Zimmer so the two will end Summer Camp quietly. So the question is, who will take home the title of Summer Camp MVP?

Since this is an imaginary award and carries little weight coming from me, I did not check the stats, so please no fact-checking. I do believe both players ended with six home runs between live ABs and scrimmages. There were not too many games played, so for two guys to hit six home runs is impressive. But only one gets the trophy, and I give the nod to Chang as the MVP of Summer Camp 2020. He hit home runs in four straight games and missed only Civale in hitting home runs off our starting pitchers, and we have a great starting five. They both made the team, so there are no losers here.

Let the season begin.

Cheers and Go Tribe!

Day 23 -- Tuesday, July 21
Not much new on today’s agenda. A saliva test upon arrival, a team meeting and then prepare for the game. Stretch, throw, defense and batting practice. A little pregame snack and shower and it was time to play the game. Very little action to report in the game, thanks to Carlos Carrasco, Phil Maton, Dominic Leone, Cam Hill, and Oliver Pérez (Paisa) all throwing zeros up on the scoreboard.

The one tidbit would be after Cookie’s outing we talked about something our coaches could see that he was tipping his pitches. While I was on base, I was able to see it, so he asked me what exactly it was I was seeing. This is another benefit to playing against each other. If our coaching staff or players can see something, then other teams will see it, too. We can let our pitchers know so they can make an adjustment before we play other opponents.

Pittsburgh tomorrow, and I am making the trip.

Day 22 -- Monday, July 20
Game day at Progressive. 1:45 p.m. arrival time for players. Non-game pitchers and position players had a 10:45 a.m. arrival so they would be gone before the game crowd arrived.

Lunch up on the concourse and then a normal gameday routine. Stretch, throw, defensive work and batting practice. After BP, get some food, take a shower and get ready for the game. Interested to see how the protocols and dugout seating will be situated.

The non-starters were delegated to the field-level suites next to our dugout to watch the game. We had comfortable chairs to sit in, which was a nice change compared to the benches. It felt like we were truly fans and with the relaxed environment of this game, we acted like it as our guys came out on deck. The opportunity to heckle our opponents is there as well. It should be interesting to watch it all unfold.

It’s a learning curve for everyone, and at first, we were without refreshments, so we were able to grab some beer and nachos from the suites. Just kidding, but it did feel appropriate. We did have some waters and Gatorades delivered so we could stay hydrated. I like to drink a lot of water while I am on the bench. The way I see it, I might as well do something that helps me and honestly, it gives me something to do. Sometimes I try to see how many times I can go to the bathroom in one game.

The first fireworks of the game, literally, came because of Francisco Lindor’s three-run homer. It is almost like he senses the season is about to start so he is tightening everything up. Good for our team.

But let me talk about the fireworks. You think with an empty stadium, you can hear the crack of the bat better? Imagine home run fireworks. Goodness gracious. The first boom after his home run sounded like a cannon went off. I was caught off-guard and nearly swallowed my gum.

In other game action, Bradley Zimmer continues to rake, going 2-3 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. He just missed another double to left-center after the center fielder made a great catch. The guy wants the MVP, I can see it in his eyes.

It was a solid game of offense as we had homers from Lindor, Jordan Luplow, Mike Freeman (yeah that’s me), and Jake Bauers. Our resident wild man, James Karinchak, closed it out to send us home.

The best news of the day came this morning, as we learned Caroline’s saliva test came back negative. A good night’s sleep is in my future.

Day 21 -- Sunday, July 19
With the late night many of the staff and players had coming back from Pittsburgh, today was a lighter day for all. We had a players-only meeting scheduled to talk amongst the guys about some of the issues we felt needed to be addressed before the season started. The weather cooperated with us with rain, so it ended up being a lighter day than originally planned. The rain eventually stopped, which was good because some of the pitchers needed to get their work in. We played a sim game with no defense, which sped it along. Shane Bieber had his last tuneup before Opening Day, and we could not be more excited to have him on the bump Opening Day.

Day 20 -- Saturday, July 18
GAMEDAY! Another opponent! Except I stayed back to have a lighter day and help the pitchers throwing in Cleveland get their work in by taking at-bats. I think I put the ball in play one time. The pitchers looked good. I faced Adam Plutko, who was sharp, and got a glimpse at the future arms in Cleveland. Triston McKenzie will be special. Nick Sandlin is a Steve Cishek comparison to me, who does not appear too far from Cleveland. And lastly, Kyle Nelson is a lefty with an elite slider. I chose not to take the at-bat for a reason. Just kidding, kind of. But I did watch him throw from behind and his stuff will play.

I did tune in to some of the game after my daughter fell asleep, and I was excited to see the boys come from behind and pick up the win. A big bases-loaded knock from Christian Arroyo to tie it, followed by our MVP frontrunner with a double to put us ahead. Yu Chang wants the hardware, even if he does not know it exists.

Day 19 -- Friday, July 17
Guys and gals, my energy for these reports is running low. I need real games soon.

Daniel Johnson continues to impress with a deep home run into the bullpen. Tyler Naquin added a home run of his own and continues to show no signs of being injured. Lefties, righties, he has hit them all so far.

Day 18 -- Thursday, July 16
Another meeting today to discuss the racial and social issues the world is facing. A powerful meeting, to say the least. Open dialogue and vulnerability were present, which allowed perspective to be shared as well as gained.

I do not have much to report today from the game. However, I do have some news on the MVP race. Bradley Zimmer hit another homer, a go-ahead no less. He is closing the gap on Yu Chang, which says more about how well Zimmer is playing because Chang is still having great at-bats.

Day 17 -- Wednesday, July 15
We started today with a mandatory team meeting to discuss procedures and standards we expect of each other this season to keep everyone on the field and healthy through the pandemic. It was a productive process to go through to hear why everything is necessary. I had a little anxiety at the start, because I addressed the team to talk about some of the issues a few of us had discussed prior to the team meeting. Speaking in public is not my place of comfort, but I was told it went well.

Moving on to the game, and oh boy, are things getting interesting. I think I will be highlighting Yu Chang and Bradley Zimmer from now on; they seem to provide the most to talk about.

And they made it easy tonight, because they went back to back against Mike Clevinger, which is no small feat. Chang was first and got ahead, 3-0, and clobbered a fastball to dead center that went into the second set of trees, way back. Not to be outdone, Zimmer then hit a two-strike curveball to center field about 15 feet to the right of Chang. Regarding Chang, Clev said it perfectly in his postgame interview when asked about Chang, his response… “Is Yu Chang Babe Ruth?” These guys are on another level right now.

And to add to the drama, Zimmer hit another home run later in the game to officially kick off the MVP debate. Just what I have been waiting for. Stay tuned, I think it will be a fun one.

Day 16 -- Tuesday, July 14
I will start with the baseball today and finish with the personal. With a few more guys having lighter days in the morning, we were able to welcome some of our young studs over to play in the game with us. It is fun to get to see the way some of these young guys carry themselves. They hold their own, with no problem.

The game was quick with not a ton of offense until the last inning. The first grand slam of camp was hit by one of the new guys, Domingo Santana. It is what he is paid to do, and he does it well.

On the personal side, today was a good day because my family flew in for the season. I was able to pick them up and get them situated before I went to the field. My daughter jumped out of my wife’s arms when she saw me and ran over to give me a hug at the airport. Talk about melting you heart. These are the moments we live for.

The unusual part of this season was very real, as my wife and I decided it would be best to distance from each other until she was able to get tested and received a negative result. With so many people’s lives and livelihoods at stake this season, we cannot take any chances. There was still uncertainty around MLB’s protocols for having family tested, so we were not sure how long our family distancing would last.

I would be sleeping on the couch until further notice. Easily the quickest I have ever been put in the doghouse.

Day 15 -- Monday, July 13
Today was the first day all the position players would arrive at the same time to make things easier on the staff. Home team took batting practice first, followed by the visiting team.

Warning: I had a good game today. Humblebrag to follow.

Sometimes days off are just what the mind and body need. Sometimes you just get lucky. Call it what you want, but I saw the ball well today. I managed to hit home runs in my first two at-bats today, and I have already amassed 50 percent of my total from last season.

Anyway, yes, I made some good swings, but I think the most impressive swing of the game was from Bradley Zimmer. He got ahead in the count, 3-0, and had the green light. And swing he did. He did not just hit a home run; his home run went to left about 20 feet fair straight as an arrow on a line. I would guess the average fan does not know how impressive that is. It is not that he hit a home run on a 3-0, but the way he did it. On a 3-0 count, you typically look for a pitch middle-middle and try to be early with the barrel to the pull side, or to center field to prevent from “getting big.” To be able to hit a laser to the opposite field with that much thump is uncommon. Zimmer has been called an avatar for good reason. Absolute specimen of an athlete.

Day 14 -- Sunday, July 12
I was put in the early group with a couple other position players to keep the workload manageable as we continue ramping up. With that said, there is not much to talk about today. I did my work, worked out in the gym and went home.

Day 13 -- Saturday, July 11
It is beginning to feel like the season as some of what we do feels like Groundhog Day. Warm up, stretch, throw, defense, batting practice, snack/shower break and then a scrimmage.

In today’s game, the scoring began in the first with an RBI single from Francisco Lindor. Bradley Zimmer had his own RBI single in the first to put the home team up after one inning.

I have not talked as much about Zimmer, because he has yet to hit home runs in three consecutive games, but he has been one of the most consistent guys at the plate. I could be wrong, but I believe he hit two home runs on the first day of live AB’s and has continued to hit the entire camp. A long way to catch Yu Chang, but he sits alone in the No. 2 spot of the Summer Camp MVP race.

The unusual highlight of this game came courtesy of Greg Allen. In one at-bat, he hit a majestic home run down the left-field line off a curveball and rounded the bases, only to be told it was foul. He then proceeded to hit a fastball out to left for a home run when the at-bat continued. I think his bat got stuck in the net behind home plate, he threw it so hard. Regardless, it was incredible to watch.

Carlos Santana would add a home run, as well as José Ramírez, even those José's hit the top of the wall. Home-field advantage.

So, I mentioned Zimmer as the No. 2 in the MVP race. Well, Chang hit a home run for the fourth straight day ... FOUR IN A ROW! Pretty phenomenal.

Day 12 -- Friday, July 10
Today for the scrimmage, the teams flip-flopped home and visiting sides.

There are only a couple things to talk about from today’s scrimmage. The most notable is the fact that I witnessed someone doing a somersault on top of home plate. Just when you think you have seen it all, you play a season in the middle of a pandemic and anything goes.

You have probably seen a video by now, but Mike Clevinger and Francisco Lindor had some pregame banter about the last time they faced one another when Clev struck Frankie out twice. So in a testosterone-filled challenge, Clev told Frankie he would throw his best fastball first pitch. We all know what happened from there. Just goes to show you how nice it was hitting in Houston a few years ago. Frankie pimped it hard and Clev took it well.

The other thing of note is that Yu Chang hit another home run. Yes, that is three days in a row.

Day 11 -- Thursday, July 9
Today was the first day we had a full scrimmage against each other. Full lineups on opposing sides, a home and away team. Our arrival times were meant to mimic what it will be during the season if we are playing at home or on the road. This also helped control how many people would be in the same place at any time. Being on the visiting team, my arrival time was 3:30 p.m., an hour after the home team.

Today’s setup is slowly starting to feel more normal. Players are generally very routine oriented, and we have routines at home as well as on the road. Setting things up this way helps players start to remember or create the routines based on allotted time.

In the game our team opposed Shane Bieber. Aside from a small scare and a home run from Babe Ruth, I mean, Yu Chang, Biebs was his normal self. The scare came in my first at-bat. It was a good at-bat and he threw me a slider with two strikes I was able to barrel right back at him. He caught it, or it caught him, thankfully, but I saw my career pass before my eyes. If that ball had hit Biebs, I might have found myself on the first flight back home. Lucky for me, the kid is an athlete.

The game was decided late thanks to a no-doubter from a guy to keep your eye on, Daniel Johnson. He crushed a first-pitch changeup deep into right to give the home team the advantage. DJ is another guy who has been impressive so far.

Day 10 -- Wednesday, July 8
Today I am in the afternoon group, which means live at-bats on the schedule.

Today we had starters Zach Plesac and Adam Plutko on the bump to throw on opposing sides, followed by five relievers totaling 6 1/2 innings. The outfielders and infielders were split into two groups, so between at-bats, we could field our positions in the field to get live reps.

I started by facing Plesac, who threw well. I hit a couple hard ground balls up the middle, which went as hits, because you can call them hits when there are no infielders on defense. It is a win for everyone in that situation. Plesac wants to induce a ground ball and can say with positioning in a game it could be an out, and I can take the hits because there is no defense.

Getting on base against Plesac, I got to see firsthand the pickoff move that has made so many runners look silly. I was able to dive back safely. Unfortunately, in doing that, my jersey got dirty much to the chagrin of the clubhouse managers, and they let me know.

In other news, Yu Chang deposited another missile into the left-field bleachers. And after wondering what was in the water in Taiwan, I remembered my wife showing me a glimpse of what Chang had been up to. His wife posted a video of Chang and there was singing and dancing involved for an audience. I think that might be the secret.

Day 9 -- Tuesday, July 7
Today, I was in the morning group and did not get much sleep because of that whole unfortunate lack-of-sheets dilemma. Totally my own fault, but still the reality. I might refer to today as a “strap it on and hang with ‘em” type of day. Just because you may not be feeling your best when you wake up, we must find a way to create an energy that allows us to perform no matter what. There are plenty of days during the season where you might be sluggish, but come game time, those watching would never know. And to be honest, no one cares why you did not sleep well -- just go out and do your job.

Enough with all that. Today was a great morning of work. We did our usual prep and cage work before stretch. After stretch, we ran the bases to continue to increase the workload and familiarize our bodies with the things we are used to doing when games start. The infielders got some great work in on defense before moving into batting practice. With us being the morning group, our on-field work was done after batting practice, so I was able to go see our strength coach, Joe Kessler, in the weight room to get a workout in.

Today, we were due for another round of testing, and we are not allowed to eat or drink anything 30 minutes before, which is hard when you feel dehydrated from the hot, humid weather out on the field. Nevertheless, I set a new personal best in the saliva-spitting COVID-19 test department with one spit and quit. It is the little things I find joy in right now. Shane Bieber, where you at?

After finishing my test -- and with this possibly being my last early day of Summer Camp -- a few of us got away to play golf. Disclaimer: we each had our own cart. It was a full day, but for us, having golf as an outlet away from baseball helps break up the repetitiveness that these days can sometimes create. Having that escape refreshes your mind to be ready to get back at it tomorrow.

Day 8 -- Monday, July 6
Afternoon group. Faced Carlos Carrasco and struck out three times. Was OK with my at-bats, however. His velo looked good, command for offspeed was there. I watched Yu Chang hit one of the farthest balls I have seen at Progressive Field. It landed about 5-7 rows shy of hitting the scoreboard in left. Good day overall at the park.

I was able to move into my apartment and socially-distanced socialized with a teammate. Socializing prevented me from getting sheets for the new bed that was delivered. It could be a long night of sleep.

*I went back and looked at what I wrote for this day. I obviously was providing bullet points to go back and expand on, but I feel like you get the gist. Sometimes, less is more.

Day 7 -- Sunday, July 5
Another early-group workout for me today. The schedules are relatively similar each day, depending on what group you are in. Depending on my mood that day, I may not elaborate too much on the workout, because it's been told before. I say that because this is one of those times. It was a solid workout where guys improved and did what they needed to do.

One wrinkle in today’s schedule was that we had our second round of COVID-19 testing after the workout. To try and bring some fun to a mostly monotonous process, I challenged Shane Bieber to a spit-off to see who could fill the tube fastest. Biebs crushed me. But we got it done much sooner than we would have otherwise, so did anyone really lose? I do not think so.

Day 6 -- Saturday, July 4
Happy Fourth of July! It certainly does not feel like July 4 today. For the last nine years, I have played in a baseball game on this day, and it has always been one of my favorite days to suit up. Now, if we are looking at the bright side, I did get to suit up and run around the field today, so we were able to salvage some nostalgia from years past. I even found some Fourth of July socks from last year to wear during today’s workout to make it a little more festive. I also had a USA tank top underneath my jersey I thought about busting out during my first at-bat, but I chickened out.

Now, onto the baseball stuff. Today was like yesterday in that I was in the afternoon group, so I had more live at-bats on the schedule. The difference today was there were more pitchers throwing, so we took batting practice before the game, instead of between innings.

One thing I failed to mention before about the groups we are in is that both morning and afternoon groups have a group of infielders and outfielders. This helps when doing our position work so there are not too many guys together at once. It also allows us to field our positions during the half-innings we are not taking at-bats. And for me, taking ground balls is great for working on the fundamentals, but you cannot quite simulate game speed in practice, so the live reps on defense help shrink the gap from practice to games.

Today’s simulated game featured the city of Cleveland’s MVP, Shane Bieber. I was looking forward to facing him to better understand why he is so good. I came away from my at-bats with a better understanding. His control is elite, as we all know. I was surprised at the action of his curveball. I took two first-pitch strikes from the curveball, and I was talking to the guys about the shape of it and how much different it is from most. It has tight spin and does not have the pop out of the hand that you see from most traditional curveballs. It is smaller than others from a depth standpoint, but with it being smaller, it was hard for me to pick it up as quickly as I do the “bigger” curveballs.

One of the benefits of facing teammates is the opportunity for feedback. We understand that this is going to help our team, so it allows for productive discussion after at-bats. For instance, Bieber and I talked about his changeup because every pitch I hit in my three at-bats was a changeup. The two I rolled over had different spin than the one I hit up the middle. Being able to describe the differences and what I saw out of his hand can help him throw the pitch the way he wants to more consistently.

All in all, today was a longer day because of the number of arms that threw, so there was not much time after the workout for anything other than a shower and getting dressed. With my family still at home, there are limited options for things to do after practice, so it is back to the hotel to isolate and get ready for tomorrow.

Day 5 -- Friday, July 3
Today was the first official day of workouts. It was the first day of having a unified schedule sent out the night before with our arrival times. They split us into a morning group and an afternoon group to limit our interaction. All the simulated games are in the afternoon, so if you are in the morning group, it is a lighter workload consisting of cage work, position work, batting practice and a workout.

Today, I was a part of the afternoon group. We did the same amount of work as the morning group, with the simulated game added at the end.

Yesterday, during the sim game, the hitters sat around while Aaron Civale was taking his half-inning break. Today, however, Adam Plutko was the only pitcher, so to be efficient with our time, we hit batting practice in between innings. And going from a live at-bat to batting practice throws an interesting wrinkle into something that is typically routine. There was a level of adjustment we are not used to. This will be a season of uncomfortable, so early practice will not hurt.

The sim game started favoring the hitters in the first inning with a couple hits, but Plutko settled in after. It is funny how a pitcher may not have his best command one inning, but after coming out for the next inning, he does not miss a spot. That was how it went for Plutko today, and those are the kinds of adjustments you love to see for our team.

After these sim games, it is hard not to sit at your locker and decompress like we are used to after a normal game. Those times are when I do some of my best reflection and how I can self-evaluate and leave the results at the field so I do not bring them home with me to my family. Instead, we have a window of time to meet, which leaves no room for lollygagging.

Day 4 -- Thursday, July 2
Today felt like college initiation day. We were all divided into three groups throughout the day to do an hour-long training and tour our new facilities. It began by watching a video from MLB summarizing the health and safety protocols that are expected while we are at the ballparks. After the video was finished, we proceeded to get explanations and guidelines we should be aware of each day.

On our tour, we passed a makeshift gym on the concourse intended for players housed in the visiting clubhouse to use for the time being. We then were pointed to where our food would be served outside on the concourse. And our new dining room is now scattered seats around the Homeplate Club.

We ended the tour back in the clubhouse, where we were shown the best ways to enter and exit and what is expected while walking from room to room, like wearing masks, no bare feet, etc.

After initiation, we proceeded with our work as planned. My day consisted of live at-bats against Aaron Civale, so my schedule was slightly different. I warmed up in the gym before doing my tee and flip routines in the cages. Once complete, I headed down to the field to wait for Civale to be ready to throw his five innings. Today we would refer to as a “show and go,” because we did not take batting practice and went from the cage right into the game. As for Civale, I thought he was sharp, crisp, confident and locating like it was midseason. Sure, we got a few hits here and there, but when you get five consecutive at-bats off the same pitcher, that is to be expected.

Upon completion of the sim game I got my ground balls in to complete today's work. Another frowned-upon shower, and my day was complete.

Day 3 -- Wednesday, July 1
Today is the day. We got our COVID-19 test results back. It was a strange wait, because although I felt no signs of having COVID-19, the unpredictability of the disease leaves cause for doubt. Having said that, I tested negative.

A negative test means I can go to the field today. And not like the fields I have been going to back home, but Progressive Field, or to many still, The Jake. And boy, was it nice to be back. The grass, the dirt and familiar faces made it all feel right.

I would be lying if I said everything looked the same. New entrance, new walk to the clubhouse and for half the guys, a whole new clubhouse. And not a single piece of lounge furniture located in the clubhouse. Big comfy couches and chairs, gone. Ping-pong table, gone. Arcade games, gone. It was strange, for sure, but also necessary.

This will be a season of strange, and the thought of that inspired me to put fingers to keys to document the evolution of this year.

One notable change is the time slots guys are assigned to get their work in. We are given a time to show up and get ready, and then we have a three-hour window to complete our work and leave the ballpark. These new protocols cause the players to be more creative and efficient with their time, but it also creates an increase in work for much of the staff. In between groups, there is cleaning and sanitizing that must be done before the next wave of players can show up. The amount of work behind the scenes that has taken place to get this season off the ground is nothing short of heroic.

That being said, my day consisted of getting my body loose, going on the field to throw and take ground balls, running sprints in the outfield, hitting in the cages and working out in the gym. And after the workout, much to the behest of MLB, I took a shower.

After my day was complete in well under three hours, I meandered my way out of our clubhouse, being sure to follow the direction of the yellow arrows on the ground so I didn’t walk the wrong way on our one-way streets.

Day 2 -- Tuesday, June 30
Day 2 was much like Day 1, minus the finger-prick-and-spit contest. We were not allowed to do workouts at the field, so we again played golf. I am not the type that can sit in a hotel for too long with little to do. In my defense, we did a good job of making a day out of the golf course. My former Clemson teammate and new Indians pitcher, Dominic Leone, joined me to play one of Cleveland’s finest courses, Canterbury Golf Club.

The weather was too good to stop after 18 holes, so after a pit stop at 19, we played 12 more for good measure. We must get it in while we can.

Day 1 -- Monday, June 29
After a day of driving yesterday from South Carolina, I was given a 9 a.m. ET arrival today to report to the stadium to get COVID-19 testing done.

When we first arrived, someone was there to take our temperature to ensure we did not have a fever. From there, we went to the next room where we had our temperature taken again before signing forms acknowledging that we were prepared to play this season under new levels of risk. Some of us were not expecting these forms, but what are you going to do? Once complete, we moved to the ballpark concourse, where tables were set up with doctors and nurses prepared to administer the tests.

It felt like a day in Spring Training where everyone is required to give blood as part of our physicals. The difference in these tests and the ones in spring was that this was going to be just a pin prick rather than a standard needle-in-the-arm procedure. However, we were required to prick ourselves, which proved to be strange, having never done it myself. I managed to draw blood, and they proceeded to collect the sample to test for antibodies. While we waited for these results, we were handed a small tube with a cone-shaped opening. The medical staff then coached up a bunch of players on how to properly spit. Sounds easy enough, but apparently for a member of the front office, it took almost an hour.

Before we left, we received the results of our antibodies test and were told we would get the results of our COVID-19 tests within 24-48 hours. At this point, it is probably 10 a.m., and we are not allowed at the ballpark. What better way to fill some time than to play golf? So, we did.