Masks on the field? Ahmed ready if games can be played

National Sports

Workers wearing protective gears disinfect as a precaution against the new coronavirus at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. The Korea Baseball Organization has postponed the start of new season to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

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In order to get back on the baseball field, Nick Ahmed is willing to play as a masked man.

The two-time Gold Glove shortstop for the Arizona Diamondbacks said he’s seen some pictures of recent baseball games in Asia where players have worn protective masks to shield themselves from the spread of the coronavirus.

He said the masks “wouldn’t be ideal” but if it means baseball could be played, he’s ready.

“I’ll be up for anything at this point just to be able to play,” Ahmed explained Tuesday during a video conference. “If they said, ‘Hey, you can start games on May 15th or June 1st, but you have to wear masks.’ If that’s the only thing holding us back than sure, guys would do it.”

Ahmed is at his home in Phoenix with his wife, two young sons and brother, trying to stay in shape, fighting boredom and hoping baseball can be played at some point this spring or summer.

Ahmed said players are open to just about any scenario for playing games. That includes empty ballparks, ample doubleheaders or yes, even masks.

“If it comes to playing with no fans for a little while, as much as that would be extremely weird and strange, we’d be open to it,” Ahmed said. “Hopefully it wouldn’t have to last a long time but to get more games in and get games on TV for fans to watch, we’re all for that.”

Ahmed signed a $32.5 million, four-year deal in February that solidified the 30-year-old in the D-backs’ long-term plans. He said when spring training was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, he quickly ordered some workout equipment from Amazon. He’s also trying to do some baseball work with his brother, a minor leaguer in the D-backs’ organization.

“I’ve got a makeshift backyard gym going right now with a random assortment of dumbbells, weights, medicine balls and things of that nature,” Ahmed said.

Ahmed prides himself on staying in shape and could be ready in about a week if he could get 15-20 at-bats during some exhibitions.

For now, he’s just enjoying time with family and trying to remain grateful for his health and that of his family.

“The minute I try to worry about things I can’t change, I can’t control or aren’t up to me, then I start getting anxious,” Ahmed said.


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