When the 2020 baseball year began for Chris Tremie it was not unlike many others in his past. Tremie, the Cincinnati Reds minor league field coordinator, has been working in the minor leagues for a long time. He had managed at every level of the minors from 2006-2018 with the Cleveland organization. Prior to 2019 he joined the Reds as their minor league field coordinator, taking over for Bill Doran (who remained with the organization in another role).
But then COVID-19 took over America, and the world for the most part and shut things down left-and-right. As teams began to prepare for a return to baseball, they had to figure out how to handle a situation where they would basically be running two teams at two different locations in a spring training like situation. The Reds tabbed Chris Tremie to help run that over at Prasco Park in Mason, where the secondary site to Great American Ballpark is being operated.
That, however, doesn’t mean he’s still not helping do some work with the minor league players who aren’t on the Cincinnati 60-man player pool. There are hundreds of players in the organization who aren’t getting a chance to play baseball this year, but are still being asked to do what they can to try and do some sort of baseball activities.
“It’s unfortunate as we all know. A lot of guys are not going to be able to play, or if they are, it’s going to be very limited as the year goes on,” said Tremie. “Our challenge is to try and do everything remotely that we can to give them material and give them information, give them routines to do and to stay on that they can do safely. And that’s another big factor is that we’ve got to make sure that they are in a spot or a place where it’s safe for them to do that. We obviously advise them to make sure they feel that way first and they protect themselves and their families first. But then have routines for things they can do and work on and continue to develop as much as we can possibly, without having games and interaction as normal.”
The circumstances are going to be different for a lot of players. Some guys live in big towns and cities that have high level facilities that they can go to. It’s likely that in a large town or city that there are other professional players, even if they aren’t from your organization, that you can join up with and take some live batting practice or throw living batting practice to. If you are back at home in a smaller town, there may not be options available to you like that in some cases. Or perhaps you are in a situation where a family member is at a high risk if they get sick and you don’t want to risk being around others and bring it back to them (Amir Garrett, for example, noted today in his press conference with the media how his father’s situation led to him not being around hardly anyone while baseball was shut down because he didn’t want to put him at risk).
“We are going to try and achieve getting as good and better and improving as we can in the situation we’re in,” Tremie said. “And to that, Shawn (Pender – VP of Player Development), Eric Lee (Senior Director of Player Development), Mark Heil (Coordinator of Player Development), front office coordinators – everyone is involved, and everyone has done a good job of staying consistent with communicating with the minor league group and doing everything we can, to do as much as we can. It involves staff, coaching, performance, nutrition – everybody involved is involved. It’s been pretty, although not ideal, not something anybody wants, it’s been pretty special watching everything come together.”
No one likes the situation we’re all in. Some guys are going to have better situations to train than others. Tyler Callihan has a batting cage at his home in Florida, for example. But the organization is doing what they can on an individual level to try and give every player the best situation to improve themselves given what they do have to work with. Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson spoke yesterday with the media, noting that even some of the big league guys were doing things like making a trip to Home Depot to buy supplies to build their own mound to throw off of while things were shut down. The reality of the situation isn’t what anyone wants it to be, but it appears that the staff in the organization is doing all that they can to make the best of a bad situation.