For fans, the RubberDucks season ends Monday afternoon. For the players, the game never ends.
There will be downtime for the players before they pick up the bat and glove again, but the time in between the final day of the Eastern League season and getting ready for 2020 is minimal.
“I like that the game is all year-round,” outfielder Oscar Gonzalez said. “If it was up to me, I would love not to have a day off.”
Gonzalez will head back to the Dominican Republic and take a week off before hitting the gym and lifting. Right after that, it’s back to the field where he’ll hone his skills in an effort to continue his torrid streak through the Indians farm system.
The 21-year-old isn’t alone as many a Duck will skip the vacations in an effort to be a bigger, stronger, better ballplayer when spring training breaks.
Left-hander Adam Scott will take anywhere from two to six weeks off before getting back after it, but his plan of attack is a little bit different.
Scott heads back to North Carolina looking to lean out a bit, while concentrating on strengthening his legs even more.
The 23-year-old will do yoga twice a week to get ready to go.
After throwing two or three times a week, he’ll amp up to four or five times a week to get his arm ready for every day.
“You can never do enough mobility stuff,” Scott said. “I’m trying to make a big change physically, so I have to get on it. I want to be more mobile to get my body in better position to pitch at a higher level more consistently.
“It’s called the ‘offseason,’ but that’s really your season to make huge gains. In season, you can’t always go lift four times a week. I don’t consider there to be an offseason because there’s always something you can be doing to get better. If you think about it, if you’re not working, someone else probably is. You’re trying to be one of the best in the game. In order to do that, you have to put the work in.”
Right-hander Eli Morgan will play light catch at Redondo Beach, Calif., during his four- or five-week layoff before going through an evaluation and body assessment to identify anything wrong structurally.
After that, it’s over to Beimel Elite Athletics in El Segundo, Calif., to train.
“Baseball can be year-round or eight or nine months,” Morgan said. “I’ve done both. In high school, I was year-round. In college, it was eight to nine months. Both feel good. I’m basing it off last year and how quick I felt I got ramped up versus previous years.”
“When I go back home, I’m with friends who don’t play baseball, but at the same time I’m in these workout facilities with pro and college guys and we’re talking the game. It’s tough to really get removed from the game.”
Third baseman Nolan Jones’ offseason will be a little different. He, along with Ernie Clement, who was called up to Columbus on Saturday, will play fall ball in Arizona from Sept. 18-Oct. 27.
Although it’s a break from the norm, it’s a welcome chance to get even better.
“It’s another opportunity along my journey where I get to experience around different players and coaches at a different level of competition,” Jones said. “It’ll be an experience for me to see more things that I need to improve to get better and be the best one day.”
After that, it’s a trip back home to Langhorne, Pa., to take time off for the Tribe’s No. 1 prospect, who has made the game a year-round activity.
“There’s definitely a point where you need a break,” Jones said. “But I’m at a stage where I know I’m not as good as I want to be. I don’t think I ever will be, but being around the incredible players I’m going to be around, the different levels of coaching staffs and competition, it all plays a part and will help me throughout my career.”