With Major League Baseball shut down, and players and coaches dispersed all over at their various homes and self-isolating, there aren’t any real team activities. Working out has become an individual activity.
Some Dodgers have borrowed equipment from Dodger Stadium to workout at home, and others have elaborate gyms at their house (Clayton Kershaw’s home gym and Kenley Jansen’s workout room have been shared recently on social media, for instance). But not all the players have available facilities at their house, and with gyms closed during the coronavirus shutdown, that can be a problem.
“Literally there are big leaguers that don’t have any options right now,” said Dodgers director of player performance Brandon McDaniel. “The workouts we’re going to provide for our fan base are literally the same workouts we’re giving to some of our players.”
Beginning this week, Dodgers fans can exercise their fandom in a new way. McDaniel will lead workouts twice a week, streamed on the Dodgers’ various social media outlets, beginning Friday at 8 a.m. PT.
“I want to give them insight into how myself and my staff go about training our guys that maybe aren’t fortunate enough to have equipment at home, and are working out in their living rooms and their garages,” McDaniel said.
“We’re just trying to find a positive spin on this situation that everybody’s in right now, and make the best of it, even challenge some people who thought about working on their fitness but not having the time to do it. Now’s a great opportunity to take some baby steps toward those goals.”
These streamed workouts will mostly be McDaniel giving examples of home exercises he’s given to players. It’s possible a Dodgers player might be on future episodes, though none are scheduled at the moment.
McDaniel and his team, which include major league strength coach Travis Smith, minor league performance coordinator Brian Stoneberg and others, have kept tabs individually with every player on the 40-man roster during the shutdown. They generally don’t do group workouts, even via Zoom, because not every player has the same plan.
“We individualize every single workout. Clayton and Walker [Buehler] are both starting pitchers that we’re going to need at the start of the season, but their workouts look completely different,” McDaniel said. “Even the ability to do a Zoom workout four our starting pitchers wouldn’t be possible, because they’d be waiting around to explain all the exercises to each other.”
Spring training was cancelled on March 12, and the CDC recommendation of no mass gatherings runs through early May. The unknown nature of when baseball might return poses a challenge for the players and the training staff.
“We have no idea when this is going to end, but we know when it ends everything’s going to move pretty fast, so that ramp up period is going to be pretty quick,” McDaniel said. “We have no idea how long spring training 2.0 is going to be. If a ban gets lifted, we could be in Arizona, in LA, or somewhere else, pretty quickly.”
For now, game readiness is on the back burner, and staying active is the goal for players, and starting Friday, for fans.
“Psychologically, fitness is huge right now,” McDaniel said. “Being locked up in a house or wherever you might be, being fit and having the ability to exercise and release some endorphins and get some hormones going is really good for your mental health.”