Simply Seager: M’s veteran Kyle Seager keeping baseball in a pandemic simple
On his 15-minute virtual interview with the Mariners media, Kyle Seager lived up to his “Simply Seager” nickname, informing the group that this was his first Zoom call – which is most likely no joke.
Not one for social media or technology that opens him up to others, Seager prefers to keep life simple away from the baseball field. When it came trying to navigate the incredibly complicated task of attempting to play baseball in a pandemic, Seager was able to simplify that, as well.
“It is what it is,” punctuated several answers, acknowledging the reality of the situation, which if you think about it is perhaps one of the most important things each and every person in uniform can do.
For Seager, it’s not a throwaway phrase. He’s had the time to explore whether or not attempting to play is right for him and his family. There were many discussions with his wife Julie about the concerns they had but ultimately the decision was made to play and to bring his family with him. It was one thing to hear the plans while home in North Carolina, another to get into the ballpark.
“I think coming here, wondering how it was going to be, thinking about what all of the different protocols, all of the different things you are going to have to do and all of the changes, it was probably a little worse in my head I would say,” he said. “Once you are actually here doing it, it’s different, it’s weird, it’s strange. But then it kind of goes back to let me show up, do my job, do what I am supposed to do, keep everybody safe, healthy and then we can be able to go to work.”
“We can be able to go to work.”
Getting to go to work is far from guaranteed at this point. With more snafus in getting back results from weekend testing reported by other teams, the league health and testing system is not yet running smoothly, and while the Mariners have not experienced issues, Seager and his teammates are well aware of what has been happening elsewhere.
“There’s definitely questions,” said Seager. “It’s different for everybody. It’s certainly not a normal spring training, there’s not a blueprint you can follow for this. Things need to get tightened up for sure. You see it across the league. We’ve got to get the testing squared away, that’s something we have got to get figured out. Guys have to feel safe. If you don’t feel safe you are going to a have a lot of guys opting out and I completely understand that.”
With all things being as equal as they possibly can be during a pandemic, Seager would prefer to play. In order to do so he realizes that everyone has to be on the same page in following the health and safety protocols both on and off the field. According to teammates, Seager has addressed the group, talking about the importance of doing the right thing. He sees having the discussions and getting teammates to talk about the situation as a responsibility of his as a senior member of the team. On the field he has put action behind his words, being one of the few members of the team to wear a mask at all times during workouts.
“It is what it is right now.”
“Nobody would prefer to wear a mask,” he said. “Everyone would rather be able to go about our normal lives and do the normal things. Wearing a mask in the clubhouse is definitely strange, is definitely different. Wearing a mask on the field is different, it’s not something we are accustomed to doing but ultimately it is what it is right now. If we put the mask on, take care of our business, hopefully we can really get this thing rolling and we will get to play some games and do our job.”
Wearing a mask on the field has not been easy. This isn’t like a trip to the grocery store where wearing a mask for a short while is much easier. Seager is masked up for hours while at the park, and after four days there hasn’t been much adjustment.
“Not really,” he answered when asked if wearing the mask was getting any easier after a few days. “No. It hasn’t. It’s awkward. It’s uncomfortable. Once you get moving you start sweating in there and it’s a little harder to breathe with those things on, obviously. It’s not ideal, its not great but it is what it is. But we put the mask on, we do our jobs and we go home.”
Seager doesn’t plan on wearing the mask during games but believes that with so much at stake, wearing the mask whenever he can is a responsibility.
“Now it’s practice purposes,” he said. “We do our part to make sure we can get to these games, make sure we can get this thing rolling, get it off the ground. I know there have been issues obviously, we all understand about the virus, we get that. We have got to protect ourselves, protect our teammates, we don’t want this thing to spread. If we can control it, if wearing a mask helps that and we can get this thing rolling, then that’s what we want to do.”
The mask is but one adjustment that has had to have been made in Summer Camp.
“It’s all different,” said Seager. “There’s a lot of new guys in this camp that I don’t know. There’s a lot of people I haven’t met and I probably won’t meet until there is a scrimmage. We do certainly miss the coaches that are not here.”
Perhaps one of the biggest and most painful adjustments, not being able to have have his family at the field. The conversation with his oldest son a tough one to have for the father of three.
“He’s pretty sad he doesn’t get to see his buddies – (Daniel) Vogelbach, Dee (Gordon) and all those guys,” he said. “He’s pretty upset about the no ice cream after the games, that was a pretty tough blow for him. They love coming to the games, going to the family room and playing with all the kids. They’re pretty sad obviously but it is unfortunate. It is what it is this year.”
More Mariners Summer Camp coverage from Shannon
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• COVID testing hits a snag in MLB, though not for M’s
• Logan Gilbert won’t dwell on his MLB debut likely being delayed
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