Dodgers President Stan Kasten was among several team representatives to go public Friday morning (via Zoom conference) to provide updates regarding the team. As it was officially the first day at Summer Camp, Kasten acknowledged the health challenges and regulations put in place for the season.
“ I think all of baseball has done a great job of preparing everyone in the sport,” said Kasten. “It’s worth taking the shot assuming you can do it with the maximum amount of safety.”
Kasten said the Dodgers will do their best to advise players during the health situation and expressed confidence in players acting accordingly to make the season possible.
While Kasten recognized that an inflated level of COVID-19 incidents could halt the season, MLB has not given an official number of what that could be. The Dodgers have also provided COVID-19 testing for family members of players, coaches, and other staff members.
With Major League Baseball’s cancellation of the 2020 All-Star game, the Dodgers were awarded the next available slot in 2022, as covered in an earlier column.
Kasten provided an update for fans who purchased tickets for the canceled game.
“We would encourage keeping original 2020 tickets, as we are providing an incentive for people to keep them on account,” he said.
The Dodgers will also begin issuing refunds via their website out Monday if fans wish to receive one.
Information for any purchased regular-season game tickets will be announced once MLB releases the 2020 official schedule. The revised schedule is expected to be released sometime next week.
Kasten also announced that the Dodgers are expected to begin their season Thursday, July 23; however, the opponent has not been confirmed.
As of Friday morning, no Dodger players have opted out of playing this season. Kasten indicated he doesn’t know if any players will opt out, but said he will know more on the situation later today.
Many Dodger fans might have seen the video of Justin Turner hitting a home run during batting practice with artificial crowd noise. Kasten said that artificial crowd noise is something every team is looking at and could be part of the upcoming season.
Among other things to change the atmosphere, Kasten also alluded that there might be cut-outs or other ways fans can get involved, similar to the Korean Baseball Organization.
If health officials ever determine it is safe, Kasten said the team has looked at scenarios for a limited number of fans attending games this season. He explained that they will continue to talk to health officials and follow necessary regulations. However, he admitted that it is not safe for fan attendance now and that it is unlikely any team had the green light to proceed with such an idea.
All the major modifications at Dodger Stadium have been finished, per Kasten.
So for now, the tentative open day appears to be July 23. Mark your calendars, and hope everything stays on track.
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Prediction: Joc will finally win the homerun derby in 2022, wearing a different uniform.