The St. Louis Cardinals will open training camp this week at Busch Stadium. They are preparing for a shortened regular season because of the pandemic. Major League Baseball is planning for all teams to play 60 games, starting July 23 or 24.
St. Louis Public Radio’s Wayne Pratt spoke with MLB.com Cardinals beat writer Anne Rogers about the shortened season, what this might look like for the fans and how she’s planning to do her job during a pandemic.
The conversation started with Rogers answering whether she is surprised that Major League Baseball is even trying to have a regular season.
Anne Rogers: I think that it’s in everybody’s best interest to at least start the season, to do the best that they can to control each team’s bubble and at least start playing. I think the virus will dictate how the season ends. But I think it’s in everybody’s best interest to at least try to start.
Wayne Pratt: How are you approaching your job throughout all this?
Rogers: It’s been an interesting time for reporters. And I think us adjusting to coverage as baseball comes back will be crucial as well. I mean, everything’s going to be over Zoom and teleconference, and that’s not what we are used to. We’re used to going through the clubhouse. But at the end of the day, it’s about covering baseball and covering the team that we’re watching play. So we’ll adjust to our job, and it’s definitely interesting though to think about all of the changes that we’re going to have to go through as well.
Pratt: What are some of the adjustments you are preparing for?
Rogers: The temperature checks every time you go into the stadium. Being, you know, spread out in between each reporter in the press box. And I think the biggest change is the Zoom calls that we’ll be doing for interviews. The access is going to look different, and it’s just the situation that we’re in. All of the beat reporters are going to be talking with one player, which is usually not how it goes pre-game. Post-game is a little different. Usually, we’ll find the star of the game or something or starting pitcher and talk to him all in a scrum. But there’s always the option of going to find someone on your own to do one-on-one interviews. So, I think that everybody’s kind of going to have to adjust.
Pratt: Will you be going on the road?
Rogers: We’ll see. I’m not sure yet exactly what it looks like. I know for sure I’ll be going to Busch Stadium. As far as the road, I’m not quite sure if I’ll start going on the road to start the season. Maybe if we get to the end of the season, we can start having reporters travel a little bit more. But I think it’s going to be an outlet by outlet basis. I think every reporter is going to have to weigh those risks of traveling and see what happens.
Pratt: How concerned are you from a health, safety standpoint to just go into Busch Stadium to do your job?
Rogers: I thought a lot about this. Obviously, there are concerns. But I also think that Busch Stadium and the Cardinals are going to do their best to make sure that it’s a safe environment for everyone involved. And at the end of the day, like, I have to do what I have to do to make sure that I feel safe going to work. So that means wearing a mask. That means hand sanitizer on me. That means washing my hands frequently and obviously being aware of anything that comes up, whether it's temperature wise or symptom wise.
You know, right now, I’m looking forward to going back to doing my job the way I know how, and we’ll see what happens. It’s absolutely on my mind, and I’m going to have to make sure that it continues to be on the forefront of my mind and everyone else around me as well.
Pratt: When you hear the reports from Toronto, Philadelphia, the Dodgers and I believe the Texas Rangers, all teams that have had players or at least members of their organizations test positive for COVID-19, does that make you more nervous?
Rogers: I think that every team is going to see positive cases, because players are traveling from all over, and they’re going to be traveling and then reporting within a few days. What needs to happen next and what everything has to be prepared for is how they handle those cases: Getting the players into quarantine as soon as possible. Making sure the contact tracer is able to trace every single contact back throughout the organization.
I’m a little less worried on my side just because I don’t think I will have direct contact with the players themselves. And I haven’t traveled at all. But it’s definitely something that I need to be aware of it and get the other reporters to be aware of as well.
Pratt: Once the players finally get back on the field in the games start, hopefully, how different will this be to watch from a fan’s perspective?
Rogers: I’m really interested to see what the games look like on TV. Especially as we start out with empty stadiums. And it’s going to be a lot on the broadcasters to really inject that energy into the broadcast. There’s going to be a lot of people watching because we’ve missed baseball off for so long,
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