Some of baseball’s biggest names have been doing their thing right here in our back yard for months, apparently.
Numerous MLB players reportedly held workouts and played games in secret in Palm Beach Gardens, going back to March, when the coronavirus pandemic forced the teams to suspend spring training.
Most of the players already trained at Cressey Sports Performance Gym in Palm Beach Gardens.
In addition, they continued to work out there and even played two “sandlot” games last week, one at Palm Beach Gardens High School’s baseball field and the other at the city’s new field.
Daniel Prieto, deputy leisure services administrator for the city, tells The Palm Beach Post that it was not organized activity.
He added the players followed CDC guidelines and Palm Beach County executive orders regarding COVID-19.
“It was just activity and they trained,” Prieto said. “They did play two games before going off to spring training, but along the lines of training.”
Palm Beach Gardens baseball coach Joe Russo told The Palm Beach Post that it all started from Cressey, which has been operating in the county for more than 15 years.
"If people knew what we were doing, we would have had 10,000 people at Palm Beach Gardens High School to watch us."
— The Athletic L.A. (@TheAthleticLA) July 3, 2020
The city and Cressey have a public-private partnership.
“A lot of those guys work out (at Cressey),” Russo said. ”(The city) asked me if it was OK to work out at our field. Their new field was under construction, so they didn’t quite have it ready yet.
“Cressey has been working out at our place for years now. They usually work out in the morning before the guys go back for spring training. It was pretty cool … it was really cool.”
Russo went to to say that some former Gardens players who now play professionally also wanted a place to work out.
“So we were accommodating a lot of those guys as well,” he said. “That was kind of the beginning, getting our guys a place to work out. And it kind of evolved from there. And the city came and was looking to find a place for those guys to work out, and we accommodated them.”
According to The Athletic, which first reported the story, the list of nearly 30 MLB players included pitchers Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber, outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
The MLB season is set to start up again July 23.