Hoyer: Mental Health Crucial To Success In 2020

Some usual outlets to deal with stress won't be available to players.

Dan Bernstein Show
July 07, 2020 - 12:28 pm

(670 The Score) In a 60-game season, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer acknowledges that nothing is more important to a team's success than having players healthy. Any trip to the injured list or contraction of the coronavirus could mean a player misses a quarter of the season in the blink of an eye.

Beyond that, Hoyer also sees another component that will take on greater meaning in 2020: mental health.

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"It's something we talk about so much and I think we have to be really aware of," Hoyer said on the Dan Bernstein Show on Tuesday. "When you're at the ballpark and you're tense and you've got a mask on, you're taking it off, you're being tested every other day, you're constantly being reminded to take precautions, I think in and of itself, that's exhausting.

"That's real for everybody. I think there's a mental exhaustion of being so aware of everything you're doing and everyone around you. And that's just one small part of the mental health thing. I think this game is so hard and there's so much failure in our game, I think sometimes we take for granted how mentally strong our players are to play a game where you're a superstar and you fail 70% of the time. And I think all of the players have certain mechanisms that allow them to get through that. And some of it is playing baseball their whole lives. And some of it is being able to socialize off the field, to get away and clear your head, to go have a drink, to go out to dinner, to go do other things than baseball in order to clear your head and get away from the struggles of baseball. And I think that's something that's going to be a real challenge for every team -- is that certainly we're going to discourage our players as much as possible from all of those things.

"When you take away some outlets that guys have to reset from a mental health standpoint, there's a toll that's going to be taken with that. If you're struggling this year, it's going to probably feel a little bit worse in some ways than you normally would, because you can't do some of the things that you normally enjoy. I think the mental health component that's here, it's potentially the biggest thing even with the physical health. I know John Baker, our mental skills guy, will do an exceptional job with that. But I think we all have to be aware of it, and we all have to be open and have those conversations with our players. Because like I said, it's going to take a mental toll. The more that we can have an open dialogue about those struggles, the better. You don't want those guys feeling that alone."

Listen to Hoyer's full interview below.