Atlanta Braves righty Luke Jackson is far from a household name as far as baseball players go, but when he needed a place to pitch and stay in shape during the quarantine, he was invited to a secret camp of “prohibition baseball” … LOADED with superstars.
Jackson had been throwing off a makeshift mound on his driveway in Florida, when he got a text from a friend and former trainer of his that read: “Hey, if you ever need to throw live, we are having a small group of guys here [in Palm Peach].”
A pretty funny way of phrasing it.
That “small group of guys” in Palm Beach included Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, Giancarlo Stanton, Paul Goldschmidt, Noah Syndergaard, Michael Wacha, Steve Cishek, Brad Hand, and 30 or so other big leaguers, most of whom you’d definitely recognize, playing secret pickup baseball together in a 10,000 square foot facility.
The crazy story of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton & other MLB stars and the underground sandlot games no one knew about.
“We would’ve had 10,000 people there.”
— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) July 2, 2020
According to Cressey, there were no known cases of COVID-19 among any of the players at his gyms, but keeping everyone healthy and spaced out wasn’t as hard as keeping their entire existence under wraps:
“But the security aspect of it was probably even more challenging, to be discreet and give these guys an element of privacy. Guys were saying it was like ‘Fight Club’ or Prohibition baseball ….
“If people knew what we were doing, we would have had 10,000 people at Palm Beach High School to watch us.”
Apparently, this all started organically, with a few hitters (Logan Morrison) asking to see some live pitching (Kluber, Scherzer) and some pitchers (Verlander) asking for feedback on his slider.
“I get goosebumps just talking about it,” Morrison said. “When someone asks you to help them out with something, and you’re thinking they’re on another level from you. It’s pretty cool. At the end of the day, everyone wants to beat everybody, but they want to beat you at your best. So guys were helping each other out.”
Be sure to check out The Athletic’s post for may more stories on what happened, how they kept it secret, who was there, what they did, and a lot more.
“We had a real roster that could beat other pro teams. It’s like, so for the All-Star Game this year, we are just going back to Cressey’s?” Jackson said, laughing. “I would live there if I could.”