With baseball at a standstill because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Derek Jeter has spent the past few weeks at home, taking advantage of some extra family time while also making sure the Miami Marlins are ready when the 2020 Major League Baseball season officially begins.
During a media availability early in spring training, Jeter stressed the importance of the Marlins taking a step forward this season as they enter the third year of their rebuild. The team added some key players in the offseason and their top prospects were nearing their MLB debuts.
That plan has been put on hold since March 12, when the league put a halt to spring training and indefinitely postponed the regular season.
"My initial reaction was disappointment. You saw the exciting atmosphere we got to witness, not only with the guys who are going to be at the major-league level, but throughout our organization," Jeter, the Marlins' CEO and the Hall of Fame former New York Yankees shortstop, said on the Marlins' Beyond the Bases podcast. "I thought it was great for fans to see what's going to be here and what's coming. You go back to FanFest, had over 17,000 people. You could feel the excitement. You could feel that energy. After that initial reaction, you are concerned for the health and well-being of everyone because the situation continues to evolve rapidly. We had to make some adjustments."
Business is still going on as usual, albeit not at a ballpark or in face-to-face meetings that are usually the norm at this time. No games, either.
The season should be in its third week right now. The Marlins would have finished up a three-game road series against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday and be back at Marlins Park on Thursday to host the Atlanta Braves and then the Los Angeles Angels.
Instead, the sport remains on an indefinite hold like it has since March 12 while waiting for the pandemic to run its course. Communication with the rest of his executive team, trainers, managers and coaches is done remotely.
"We continue to plan for the 2020 season," Jeter said. "We're going to be ready when MLB decides it's safe to return to the field."
When that will be remains uncertain.
Mid-May is the earliest any form of baseball activity is likely based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for limiting large gatherings. Jeter called any reported plans coming out for the 2020 season -- the latest of which being that all teams will be quarantined in Phoenix and play in front of empty stadiums -- speculation.