Baseball’s return may include no spitting, no tobacco, no sunflower seeds

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As baseball moves closer to a potential return in the post-pandemic new normal (if owners and players can figure out the financial aspect of a truncated season), the game will be implementing procedures that will be distinctly abnormal in light of long-established practices.

Via Jeff Passan of ESPN.com, a working draft of Major League Baseball’s revamped health and safety manual includes a prohibition on spitting, chewing tobacco, and gnawing on mouthfuls of sunflower seeds.

Coronaball also will exclude fist bumps and hugs, socializing with opponents, and any attempt by first- and third-base coaches to approach baserunners or umpires. Likewise, the ritual of throwing the ball “around the horn” after an out will be discouraged, and any ball will be removed from play after being touched by multiple players.

And while the stands won’t have fans, players and team personnel not participating in the game will move from the dugout to the seats usually reserved for paying customers, with at least six feet between them.

The document is subject to change, with teams asked to provide input by Friday.

Players also will have their temperatures screened multiple times per day, and certain individuals will be tested for the coronavirus multiple times per week. As recently explained by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, players who test positive will be quarantined, but a positive test for specific players won’t shut down an entire team.

These arguably extreme efforts to keep players and other necessary individuals from getting in close proximity and/or otherwise shedding virus on each other create an obvious contrast with the unavoidably close quarters in which football players operate. Exchange of saliva and respiratory droplets will be inevitable when 22 men line up for blocking and tackling and bumping and running; that will make rigorous and repeated testing even more important for pro football than for any other sport.

Again, the NFL has the benefit of time — time to monitor other sports, time to allow for advances to be made in testing and treatment, time to devise procedures that will limit the spread of the virus without changing the fundamental nature of the game. Still, baseball’s proposed safety measures illustrate the challenge the NFL will face to prevent the virus from migrating among teammates, opponents, coaches, and officials.

In football, the only way to guard against infection will be to ensure that everyone who enters a practice facility, a locker room, a bus, an airplane, and/or a field of play does not have the virus. Otherwise, it can and will spread like wildfire.

26 responses to “Baseball’s return may include no spitting, no tobacco, no sunflower seeds

  1. prohibition on spitting, chewing tobacco, and gnawing on mouthfuls of sunflower seeds.

    Ain’t real baseball then

  2. What about my little league money? Lol real question. Paid over $100 amd my son only had 3 practices and then they shut it down. Does anyone here know? I haven’t gotten an answer yet. I wouldn’t mind if I didn’t get my money back, but instead they just roll it over to next year and we wouldn’t have to pay for next season. I just know it will rub me the wrong way if they tell us we’re outta luck and we don’t get our money back.

  3. Sounds like overkill. They are going to be tested multiple times. Checking for symptoms will be daily. But still they don’t want anyone to get close together when playing outdoors where the virus doesn’t survive long.

    But hey. If it makes them feel better.

    Let the hype and hysteria continue!

  4. Next rule: breathing discouraged. It should only be done when absolutely necessary.

  5. Just cancel sports for the year. The more you hear about the reopeningsthe dumber it gets.

  6. I can see this working for baseball.
    It will be difficult to play football and basketball this way.

  7. charliecharger says:
    May 16, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    Buy stock in bubble gum.///

    Not a bad thought but they probably ban that too, spittle from bubbles. And if you watch, players spit almost as much as when chewing tobacco when it’s just gum.

  8. MortimerInMiami says:
    May 17, 2020 at 9:05 am

    Nobody misses baseball whatsoever.////

    But not everyone has the Marlins, so yeah people miss baseball.

  9. Should be interesting to watch guys play 9 innings while wearing a paper mask and latex gloves.

  10. All this depends on a test that has far fewer false negatives, as high as 15% today. When Covid19 has penetrated the White House, one of the most protected spaces in the world, what kind of confidence can we have we can keep it out of baseball stadiums and practice facilities?

  11. I’d rather watch a recording of a previous game that I don’t know the result. The fans is a big part of sports. The players feed off the energy. Possibly with the exception of auto racing. The drivers are only tuned in to the track and the headset.

  12. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is paying attention to the wrong things. He allowed 2 high profile cheating scandals to go unpunished on his watch and did nothing about it, which encourages more cheating. That destroys the integrity of the game and will turn off younger generations, who already refer to baseball as the game where “everyone cheats and takes steroids”. Ticky tacky rules will only make things worse. Focus on making the game more consumable for the average fan (no infield shifts, DH in both leagues)

  13. In football, the only way to guard against infection will be to ensure that everyone who enters a practice facility, a locker room, a bus, an airplane, and/or a field of play does not have the virus. Otherwise, it can and will spread like wildfire.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    You couldn’t ensure that 6 months ago and you won’t be able to ensure that next week, next month or next year. How many people that you came into contact last year had the flu? Perpetually “testing” everybody is not logistically practical or even effective due to the cost of the tests and their inherent failure to achieve 100% accuracy and the possibility of contraction minutes after being tested. The fear being promoted serves a motive other than safety and soon more and more people will see it.

  14. any ball will be removed from play after being touched by multiple players

    Multiple means more than one (I looked it up). Does that mean they will remove every ball from play after each pitch? After all, the pitcher and catcher would both touch the ball on most pitches.

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