Redbirds Manager Ben Johnson discusses baseball during a pandemic

Sports

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Like most people in the country, Redbirds manager Ben Johnson will never forget those hectic few days in March when things shutdown due to the coronavirus.

“During spring training you could feel the tension starting to build. I got a phone call and I was able to book three flights and was able to get me and my family out the same day.”

Johnson and his family, who are quarantining in Arizona, knew things were going to be different for awhile they just didn’t know it would be this long.

“I thought for sure, maybe not in full season at this point, but ramping back up to getting ready to break. I would assume we would be in spring training or at least have a date to where we do plan on resuming. Right now just kind of waiting like everyone else.”

And while sports league’s are in the process of making a return baseball players and owners are having trouble finding common ground.

“Not totally frustrated because I understand there is more than just each side to it. Everyone wants to play. The players want to play, the owners want to play. The coaches, the fans. There is more to it than getting guys together and playing baseball games. We have to find away to keep everyone safe, we have to make sure we guys feel like they are being compensated properly. I’m not happy about it but I know in time both sides will come together because everyone wants to have a season. It’s what everyone wants.”

Now that’s at the major league level at the minors it’s a whole different set of problems. Several organizations have been forced to cut players and salary as it’s still unknown if there will be a minor league season.

“That would be a travesty but with that being said, you have to understand where we are at as a nation as a country. I know for me baseball isn’t the most important thing, I have two family members that have conditions that are extremely sensitive to this. So if we are putting this off to keep people safe, I am all for it.

And during these difficult times Johnson is just glad to be part of an organization that’s doing all they can.

“The St. Louis Cardinals have treated me more than fairly. The DeWitt family and our ownership have gone above and beyond what they were supposed to do and I am extremely thankful for that. I am proud to be a St. Louis Cardinal.”

Now hopefully the baseball season isn’t far away.

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