DENVER — The sounds of baseball have returned to Coors Field in LoDo Denver, but there was just something a bit different this time around.
Saturday was the first official practice of the MLB Summer Camp. The conversations should have been surrounding the top performers at batting practice and bullpen sessions, but the talk of the park were the medical and safety protocols.
"This thing is bigger than all of us, and if it's a little bit of an inconvenience for me to wear a mask to protect someone else, I'm going to do that," Scott Oberg said. "We have to take ourselves out of the equation and take our egos out of it and make sure we're doing the best thing not only for our teammates, but for our community as well."
Scott Oberg left the 2019 season in August after suffering blood clots. He also lives with three autoimmune diseases, so the pitcher has a lot of reasons to be cautious this season.
"Once I saw a lot of the protocols early on, I was pretty encouraged. I would definitely rather see the overkill we have than not going far enough, from a personal standpoint," he said.
Trevor Story is encouraged by the support of his teammates. He said they're all buying in to the mask and safety protocols for the betterment of the team.
"I think being at Coors Field is the safest place for us to be. Knowing that guys around here have been tested and everyone has been tested. So the real challenge is away from the field and we challenge our guys. If you're doing something for someone else, I think you'll do a better job," he said.
Each player is taking personal responsibility to protect his own teammates. The Rockies already have had three players test positive for the coronavirus, including former All-Star Charlie Blackmon, who is not yet permitted back to practice until he completes his quarantine.
"People are dying from this and we still don't know the long-term affects from this. When Charlie got this and I heard a couple of other guys got it, I was sad for them," Tony Wolters said. "I was like, that's sad, and I didn't know how it was going to affect them. I hope they get healthy quickly and they can play this game that they love."
If they do get healthy, and the whole team remains healthy, they all believe they should have the competitive advantage in this 60-game shortened season.
"It was brought up in a meeting that the healthiest team could be the best team in this situation and we have to take that and almost use it as an advantage," Story said.
Oberg said it's the responsibility of each player to stay safe outside of the confines of Coors Field.
"We want to make sure that guys are doing all of the right things at the ballpark and away from the ballpark and it can put us in the best position to win a lot of ballgames," he said.