For more than two months, Ron Roenicke has waited for the day of his first regular-season game as manager of the Red Sox.
Today, given the precarious state of the labor negotiations, there's no guarantee that day is any closer. In fact, there's no guarantee that the 2020 season will take place at all. And that uncertainty and the continued precautions being taken in the midst of the pandemic eat away at Roenicke.
"I'm still not comfortable being home,'' he said from his home in southern California. ''Even though this has been going on a while, I haven't gotten used to all of this stuff going on. And along with that, I still know this is May and I'm not supposed to be at home.''
So Roenicke has turned away some visits from friends, focusing on a season that he hopes will still happen.
"I'm not on vacation. That's not where I am,'' said Roenicke. "We're still trying to figure out how to do things and if we get going, a second training camp and the (regular) season. So I'm not shutdown. I'm still thinking about things every day, having conversation every day with Chaim (Bloom, chief baseball officer) or Brad (Pearson, head athletic trainer) on the medical end and physically getting guys ready or with the players.''
In a wide-ranging interview with BostonSportsJournal.com, Roenicke addressed a long list of topics:
- On the many health and safety protocols that will have to be observed:
"It's going to be completely different in every area. We've had a lot of conversations with Chaim and Eddie (Romero, executive VP and assistant GM)) and Raquel (Ferreira, executive VP and assistant GM) (we) are trying to figure out, if we play in Boston, where people are going to live, where we're going to get dressed, where we're going to shower. All these things are really important -- training camp, which one are we going to and if we do it in Florida, what are the buildings we're going to use to check people in, what locker rooms are we going to use and how we separate people.
"Then, once we start the season, I've looked at what we're going to have to do just sitting in the dugout. I mean, think about me wearing a mask and staying six feet away from people all the time. That's going to be really interesting because I really like to talk to guys during the game. We can't have all the coaches in the dugout and the players, so where are they going to sit? So, we've talked about a lot of things. It is way different than anything any of us have ever looked at.
"I like routine. That's just how much mind functions and I feel the most comfortable and that's going to change a lot. It's not going to be so comfortable. No high-fiving in the dugout? That's going to be really difficult. I'm going to have make sure I'm in check. You know, that's the fun of this game -- to see guys really well and when they come in (to the dugout), you're celebrating. Really, that's the biggest enjoyment of this game. And to not be able to do that? We're going to have to figure out a new way to do it and still enjoy it.''
- On the keys to succeeding in a shortened season: