The Check-In: Gavin Lux leads Dodgers to W's in the 'MLB The Show Players League'

The Check-In: Gavin Lux leads Dodgers to W's in the 'MLB The Show Players League'

In one world, a virtual version that hasn’t touched the coronavirus outbreak, the 2020 Dodgers are 9-3 and are on top of the National League West standings.

Gavin Lux is in control of thousands of miles from Dodger Stadium at his Wisconsin home, PlayStation 4 controller in hand, headset activated for the “MLB The Show Players League. It’s the only MLB-approved version of baseball that’s played. For avid gamer Lux, it’s fun to do while he waits for the pandemic.

“I would play video games at night anyway,” Lux said in a conference call with journalists on Sunday. “So it wouldn’t really change my daily routine.”

This would be the start of the real Lux outbreak season. He might not have taken the Dodgers squad out of spring training – the club could have chosen to limit his service time to an extra year of control – but he would have emerged soon enough to contribute to a team expected to enter the World Series will achieve. Starting at second base, the Dodgers’ best prospect would have been a favorite to win the National League rookie of the year after plowing the minors and making his big league-debut last September.

It can still happen. Hope for a 2020 season is not dead. Among the options to avoid a canceled season, MLB considers that all 30 teams play the season only in stadiums in the Phoenix region with no fans. There are many obstacles.

Gavin Lux guides Dodgers to victory over Joey Gallo and the Rangers.

The goal would require thousands of people – from players to hotel staff – to be kept in a bubble for a long period of time and all tests readily available. Players may be separated from families for months. A few prominent veterans, including Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout, have said they would refuse to play if quarantined with their families.

That complication does not concern 22-year-old Lux. He is single and has no children.

“It’s no problem for me. I would definitely do it,” Lux said. “But you should look at both sides of the spectrum with guys with families. I would fully understand if you don’t want to and are away from your kids and your wife. “

As for the games, Lux knows what it’s like to play professional baseball games in empty baseball fields in the middle of an Arizona summer.

He was assigned to the Dodgers branch in the Arizona League after being drafted in the first round of 2016. He played in 48 games for two months to the end of August. He remembers miserable batting practice sessions with temperatures consistently reaching triple numbers. But most of the games were played at night, when the desert cools down, making games manageable.

“It was a bit difficult, but at this point you have to do what you have to do,” Lux said. “So I wouldn’t complain about it.”

Gavin Lux played in 48 games in his first season with the Dodgers in 2019.

(Nick Wass / Associated Press)

Meanwhile Lux tries to stay in shape in different ways. A good friend has a gym in Wisconsin and gave him a key. The ride is 30 to 40 minutes each way, so Lux limits the gym workouts to a few days a week.

“There is literally no one,” said Lux. “So I let the music blare a little and then try to get my work done.”

When not on the ride, he works out in his improvised mini gym with dumbbells. When it’s not too cold – April in Wisconsin isn’t nice – he takes punch exercises from his uncle, Augie Schmidt, the No. 2 overall pick in the 1982 concept, on his high school field. Lux hits a bucket or two of balls at a time before he and his uncle scatter to pick them up.

“Give me 15-20 at bats right now and I’m ready to go,” said Lux.

The workouts last two hours a day. He spends the rest of his days playing video games. He usually plays “Call of Duty”, sometimes with Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson. He said he hadn’t played much of “MLB The Show” before the league started last week, but he thought it would be a fun way to connect with fans and players in the league.

Each team is represented by one player and plays once against each other team for a total of 29 games in the regular season for the playoffs. Players compete every four nights in four three-inning games. Each game is streamed on different platforms. Lux streams his games on his own Twitch channel, which he created after starting a YouTube channel in the off-season.

“It’s a different way of communicating with fans and being a little bit more recognizable so they … get some more information about you as a person,” Lux said. “So I thought it was a cool idea to be able to communicate with some fans. ”

Once a real season starts, those channels will go dark, Lux said. His focus will be on helping the Dodgers win their first World Series since 1988. Until then, he has the virtual Dodgers, who have the third best record in the majors, to lead to a championship.


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