Underground All-Star Game? MLB Players Had Secret Group During Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has been challenging for everyone, including professional athletes, as normal routines and annual events have been thrown out of whack as the world attempts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Major League Baseball’s season came to a screeching halt during spring training, but many players have gotten creative with their workouts. In fact, according to The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, a large group of major leaguers worked out together in Palm Beach, Fla., home to one of two Cressey Sports Performance gyms run by Eric Cressey.

And we’re not just talking about a few fringe big leaguers going through the motions. Apparently, some legitimate MLB All-Stars participated in the activities, which included live batting practice and even two nine-inning games.

Here’s more from Ghiroli’s piece published Thursday:

A group that included Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton and more than 30 other big leaguers had quietly been working together — from a safe distance. They formed a secret baseball group while playing at Palm Beach Gardens High School.

There were no known cases of the virus among players at Cressey’s gyms.

“The health and safety part was hard. We had to have really small groups, use all 10,000 square feet of the facility,” Cressey said. “But the security aspect of it was probably even more challenging, to be discreet and give these guys an element of privacy. Guys were saying it was like ‘Fight Club’ or Prohibition baseball.”

“If people knew what we were doing, we would have had 10,000 people at Palm Beach Gardens High School to watch us.”

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Wow.

The details of this underground baseball world — which you can read all about right here — are fascinating, particularly given the names involved and the apparent passion with which the players worked together. It’s actually quite amazing that more hasn’t been made of the large meet-up on social media or elsewhere, especially as MLB players and owners negotiated how to go about resuming the 2020 season.

Verlander, Scherzer, Kluber, Goldschmidt and Stanton. That’s some serious star power.

Here are some other players who participated, according to Ghiroli’s piece: Luke Jackson, Logan Morrison, Robert Gsellman, Michael Wacha, Noah Syndergaard, Richard Bleier, Bryan Holaday, Josh James, Taylor Guerrieri, Brian Moran, Mike Brosseau, Ryan LaMarre, Steve Cishek, Nick Wittgren, Brad Hand, Zach Plesac, Anthony Swarzak, Monte Harrison, Isan Díaz, Jordan Holloway, Austin Voth, Kyle McGowin, Tyler Kinley Kyle Barraclough, A.J. Ramos, Kevin Siegrist, Triston McKenzie and Jesús Luzardo.

Maybe someday, footage from the star-studded workouts will emerge. Until then, we’re left to dream about some of the conversations that were had in what seems like an alternate universe.

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Thumbnail photo via Rhona Wise/USA TODAY Sports Images