Wayne Randazzo Catches Up With Luis Rojas

WCBS 880 Newsroom
April 02, 2020 - 6:45 pm
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WCBS 880 — So what now? With baseball on hiatus until the medical crisis known as COVID-19 significantly subsides, that’s the question on the minds of many inside and outside the game. New Mets manager Luis Rojas has some basic wisdom to answer that looming question.

“Be safe at home, support each other and most importantly, support the people that are in the frontlines just doing their jobs, all the doctors, hospital personnel and nurses that are putting so much hard work in to contain the virus,” Rojas said. “Everyone needs to follow the protocols and follow what the governor is telling us. We will definitely be playing baseball sooner than later if we follow the protocol, and then we can all enjoy Mets baseball.”

Enjoying Mets baseball sounds completely pleasurable right now, delightful really. However, the realities of a global pandemic make that implausible for the time being. What is necessary for the Mets and all of those around the league is to be ready for the call to return to the field, whenever that may come.

That can be easier said than done. Mets 3B/OF J.D. Davis recently told SNY’s Steve Gelbs on “The Cookie Club” that he’s doing wind sprints in a parking lot. 1B/OF Dominic Smith later mentioned to Gelbs that he’s doing dry swings in the shower, and there was recently a Twitter video of Marcus Stroman pitching in a parking lot to Smith, who was using his seldom seen left-handed catcher’s mitt.

“They are just trying to keep their activity high,” Rojas said. “They’re staying loose, staying strong but probably not at their peak. We have to take this day-to-day and do what you can do with your surroundings.”

To assist with their players’ workouts despite the lack of access to their normal facilities, gyms and training regimens, the Mets have been in constant communication with the players. Each man has been given an outline for getting their work in with or without their typical equipment.

Luis Rojas
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Mets front office and coaching staff has also remained in close contact since the closing of all MLB Spring Training complexes two weeks ago. One way they’ve communicated is through an app called TeamWorks, which markets itself as a one-stop streamline for members of an organization to stay fully informed and keep in touch. TeamWorks is used by over 100 professional sports teams worldwide including nine in MLB.

Rojas chats with the front office and his coaching staff on a daily basis as they prepare for the unknown and a potential season that will likely appear quite differently than any other in the sport’s history. Rojas though is keeping his most prevalent thoughts with those battling against the pandemic.

“The number one thing is safety,” Rojas said. “We see what’s going on in different locations especially New York. We pray for the health of everyone and for everyone to be safe and the people who are putting themselves on the frontlines to help the case. Whatever the timeline, we have to keep the mentality that we are going to play. We have to take this day-to-day and do what you can do with your surroundings.”

Rojas is doing exactly that, showing the maturity beyond his 38 years that made him the prime candidate to manage a team that was once expecting to have one of the greatest players of all-time, Carlos Beltran, leading the way in 2020. Between Beltran’s sudden exit and pitfalls of the pandemic, Rojas, in typical baseball fashion is unmoved by unusual circumstances.

“This being a game of adjustments kind of trains you for something like this,” Rojas said. “We’re just doing what’s best for everyone at the moment. The time will come to play baseball again.”

That’s the time that Rojas and the Mets are looking forward to most, they want to entertain their adoring, passionate fanbase again, and they want real baseball, no simulations or games of the past. Rojas hasn’t had much time for the vintage replays anyway.

“I have seen some of the classic games that have been shown on MLB Network,” Rojas said. “I’ve caught a few innings of some Opening Day and playoff games. I haven’t watched a full one yet. Something usually pulls me away, but I hope I get a chance one of these nights just to sit down, watch one and enjoy a baseball game.”

Mets fans and baseball fans everywhere can’t wait for the same.