Rick Woodcock Overcomes Shoulder Surgery and Adjusting to the Virus in the Detroit MSBL

By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications

Editor’s note:  Rick submitted his responses at the end of March so some of his Virus-related comments may be outdated, as each state’s mandates change quickly.  However, Michigan remains a hot spot and many of his observations are still quite relevant now in the first week of May.

Rick Woodcock is a 68-year old baseball junkie who lives in Dearborn, Michigan and plays in the Detroit MSBL for the Cubs in the 42+, the Diamondbacks in the 52+ and the Cardinals in the 62+ division, where he doubles as their manager.  Rick has been playing in the Detroit MSBL for 15 years, since 2005.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Rick’s family and his ability to maintain contact with them, along with causing delays in baseball action in the Detroit MSBL, but he stays active working out, keeping in touch with his Cardinals teammates and watching reruns of baseball games on TV.  Here are some comments Rick forwarded regarding life in Dearborn during a pandemic.

“Here in Michigan we are under a “social distancing” mandate as most everything is shut down. I only go out of the house for groceries and even then, sometimes my daughter will pick stuff up for me if she is going to the store.  The weather is warming up so the governor is gradually allowing more businesses to open, so I’m hoping we’ll get to play this year.  We may be playing with masks on, but if they could do it in 1918, we should be able to manage.  Regardless, safety is the paramount concern for us.  Our league normally starts around Memorial Day, but we think the earliest would be mid-June right now.  I sure hope so.

As I am retired, work isn’t an issue.  However, I have two kids who are both teachers, with one living with me.  Both are working out of the home and it looks like the governor may be closing the schools for the remainder of the year soon. My other son is a Fire Marshall so he is still going to work.  However, because of all this, I don’t have any contact with my other two kids or four grandkids who aren’t living with me, other than by phone. 

As for takeaways of the coronavirus, I am most disappointed in our lack of preparedness and the lack of leadership at the federal level.  My wife Peggy passed away in February of natural causes just before the virus broke in the United States, so it has been quite a life changing two months for me.

As for baseball, I had shoulder replacement surgery on my throwing arm in October, so I have been rehabbing since November and just started throwing at the end of February.  As a team, we were able to have one indoor batting session in late February, but then the virus hit and all group gatherings were stopped.  However, I had purchased a pitching/hitting net in anticipation of having to work on my arm strength so I have been throwing in the backyard about three to four days per week since the 1st of March.  My rehab now has me throwing at about 90 feet and I’m outgrowing my backyard!  The other baseball “activities” involve communication with my 62+ Cardinals team regarding registration, fees, and keeping them informed of league updates. 

On a personal level, I’ll turn on MLB Network and watch some reruns of games, or even put on Ken Burns “Baseball”, and watch a segment of that.  Other than that, the only activities I’m involved with is updating and repainting some of the rooms in the house. Once the weather breaks, I’ll be spending a lot of time in the yard or working on a couple old cars I have.

With playing on three teams in the summer, about 70 games total, that was an indulgence my wife put up with, so I didn’t push trying to play more with fall or spring tournaments.   Also, come September, I’m usually worn out baseball-wise, so I have never played in any fall or spring tournaments.  Maybe this year will be different, depending on how much we get to play this summer.