Doolittle fielded questions from viewers and his fellow guests throughout the hour-long show, including one about which book he could read over and over again. Doolittle answered “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia E. Butler, but he cautioned that the science fiction novel about a collapsed society set in the mid-2020s might hit a little too close to home during the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“I don’t really recommend reading it right now, because it has big dystopian energy and a lot of post-apocalyptic themes,” said Doolittle, who made a $10,000 donation to the Capital Area Food Bank last week. “It’s one of the few books I’ve read multiple times and I really like it.”
“I’m either really prepared for this because of all the dystopian stuff I’ve watched and read, or it’s making me freak out more; I haven’t really decided,” Doolittle said. “I just always thought that any dystopian world that I lived in, I would be wearing a cool outfit with, like, shoulder pads and spikes, like in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and going out and doing really dangerous stuff to try to save humanity, and instead I’m sitting in my pajamas watching reruns of “The Office” on Comedy Central. A little bit different.”
While several Nationals players, including Ryan Zimmerman, packed up their belongings and headed home after Major League Baseball suspended spring training March 12, Doolittle and 12 of his teammates remained in Florida as of Friday.
“I’m Florida Man now,” Doolittle joked.
Doolittle said he and his fellow players would “definitely consider playing this season,” even if fans weren’t permitted in the stadium and games were only available on TV or radio. Opening Day has been delayed indefinitely.
“I think that would be something that fans would really, really respond to and would really love,” he said. “I know we as players would love getting back out there. We’re staying ready. We go into the facility down here in Florida in shifts, in groups of four, to make sure we stay under the 10-person suggested limit.”
Doolittle said those who remained in West Palm Beach weren’t doing any work on the field at the Nationals’ spring training facility, but players continued to hit in the batting cages.
“If guys play catch, the first thing they’ll do is come back inside and wash their hands,” Doolittle said. “We’re throwing from more than six feet apart, so hopefully things aren’t being transferred, but so far, so good. We’ve had to improvise a lot, but we’ve been staying busy, staying in shape and hopefully we can resume the season. … At this point, it’s just something else to do. That’s really the only time that I leave the hotel. Just staying ready and keeping our brains from going too crazy."
Gleib, one of the hosts, tried asking Doolittle multiple times whether he thought the Houston Astros should be stripped of their 2017 World Series title in light of the sign-stealing scheme they used throughout the season.
“As far as the 2017 title --” Doolittle began, before his screen froze and his WiFi cut out, prompting another co-host to joke that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was listening in and had his finger on the dump button.
“I think my buzzer was creating some interference with the WiFi,” Doolittle quipped when his signal returned. “I honestly don’t know what should happen."
As for the Nationals’ World Series title, Doolittle said he’s still processing it.
“It still hasn’t really totally sunk in yet, because for me, last year was my eighth season in the big leagues, and any team that I had been on had never made it out of the first round of the playoffs, so you start to wonder if it’s ever going to happen,” he said. “You see other teams celebrating after the World Series, and you’re like: ‘How is this even possible? I’ve been on some really good teams, and I’ve never even come close.' It was such a whirlwind experience. The World Series seemed to go by so fast. It really hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m honestly still coming to grips with it.”
In between watching reruns of “The Office,” Doolittle should have plenty of time to think about the Nationals’ 2019 accomplishment over the coming weeks.
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