Reds’ Barnhart open to playing games without fans: ‘I just want to play’

Tucker Barnhart: “I just want to play.”

Reds’ Barnhart open to playing games without fans: ‘I just want to play’
Pittsburgh Pirates' Jose Osuna (36) scores under a ag by Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart on a double by Pirates' Adam Frazier in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (Source: Gene J. Puskar)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart is open to the idea of starting the season without fans if it helps speed up Major League Baseball’s timeline to return to the field.

“I want to play in front of fans, don’t get me wrong, but I just want to play," said Barnhart. "If I could be back in a stadium playing a month before and give people things to watch on TV and see some normalcy, as far as sports are concerned -- if I could be back a month earlier -- I would rather do that as opposed to waiting until everybody and every fan be back in the stadium.”

Barnhart has played his entire six-year career with the Reds and is the team’s representative to the players’ union.

He has been on several conference calls with the league and the owners as baseball’s decision-makers try to map out a solution to the start of the season.

“We all want to play as many games as possible. I think it goes without saying, as players, we want to play as many games. Not only because we love playing, but we want to make as much money as possible. That’s God’s honest truth about it and I think the same goes with the ownership.”

Barnhart said there have been discussions of using double headers and neutral sites to help play as many games as possible. He is in favor of expanding the rosters to help players acclimate to an accelerated schedule and not compromise the amount of rest players need.

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