Dodgers baseball is back in business!

By 
Jackson Mcmurrey
Thursday, May 7, 2020
A group of young athletes who are on their second day of tryouts for the Laurel Dodgers stand a safe distance from each other while taking instructions from one of the team’s assistant coaches.

A group of young athletes who are on their second day of tryouts for the Laurel Dodgers stand a safe distance from each other while taking instructions from one of the team’s assistant coaches.

Richie Cortese gives a double thumbs-up as he and fellow athletes stretch six-feet apart from one another prior to the beginning of tryouts on Monday, May 4 at Thompson Park. Outlook photos by Jackson McMurrey

Richie Cortese gives a double thumbs-up as he and fellow athletes stretch six-feet apart from one another prior to the beginning of tryouts on Monday, May 4 at Thompson Park. Outlook photos by Jackson McMurrey

Head coach for the Dodgers, Doug Studiner, takes a break from hitting fly balls to direct players in the outfield.

Head coach for the Dodgers, Doug Studiner, takes a break from hitting fly balls to direct players in the outfield.

As of last week, the Laurel Dodgers were given the okay from all necessary officials to begin on-field activities, said head coach, Doug Studiner. The American Legion is deciding to give it a go, but not without a set of extra quarantine-related rules, of course. Set backs so far include: the local baseball community is not yet 100% sure that games will happen, and if so, how they will happen. Even though seven games scheduled for May were scrapped, Studiner said he’s got high hopes for games going into June; the first of those on June 2 against the Billings Blue Jays. Right now, the schedule of games remain “fluid,” as Studiner described that every day could bring new changes, but they will need the Governor’s Phase Two plan to be initiated before games can really be played. Being in Phase One now, technically only a maximum of 10 people at the most are allowed within relative proximity of each other, which wouldn’t make for a true baseball game. Phase Two will allow up to 50 people to gather, making it a little easier on the league.

Tryouts for the Dodgers began Monday, May 4 at Thompson Park, and will continue through the end of the week. Many players and fans alike of the local baseball scene have been looking forward to seeing a Dodgers roster which is still to come, but is finally on its way. Studiner says he’ll likely have an official team by next week, and had about 18 boys show up on Monday evening, and possibly more to show up throughout the week. Several players have reached out to Studiner to potentially catch a late-train to tryouts, “thought there wouldn’t be a season, so they didn’t sign up.”

Another lingering matter is that players still have to practice social distancing and clean habits while they enjoy getting to be back on the diamond. Studiner claimed that keeping the players six-feet apart isn’t much of an issue, it just takes splitting up into smaller groups than usual, each group working on a different drill, and reminding the athletes that there are still rules to be followed if they want to keep their privilege of playing. The coach didn’t seem any more bothered by the new restrictions than he was by the high winds of Monday, as if keeping the Dodgers under control won’t be an issue, as long he doesn’t lose his voice by shouting over strong winds by the end of the week.

“[We are] looking forward to competing, competition is what drives athletes,” Studiner explained. “We’re going to approach it like we’re going to play games, going with the June and July schedule.” He continued reciting his goals for the season, despite the uncertain future, and he plans on moving forward alongside the community as things progress.

Studiner emphasized how “good” it is to be back outside. In fact, Studiner said that “being outside again after [that] is taken away from you” is the best part of being back on the field, and that “life getting back to normal” is the utmost goal.

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