Major League Baseball has a plan to begin play this summer and it includes all sorts of safety measures to protect players from acquiring COVID-19.

They have thought of just about everything, including:

  • No fist bumps, high fives or hugs.

  • No exchanging of lineup cards prior to the game.

  • No showering at the ballpark.

  • No eating in restaurants on the road.

  • No touching the face when giving signs.

  • No mascots.

  • No bat boys or girls.

  • No licking your fingers.

  • Players not in the game must sit in the stands, apart from each other.

  • No spitting.

OK, that’s not all the rules, but I had to stop there, because that last one is going to be the most difficult to enforce. It means no chewing tobacco, no sunflower seeds and just NO SPITTING anything!

I don’t know how you can play baseball without spitting! It’s ingrained and been a part of the game since Ty Cobb.

In the old days, I couldn't COVER a game without chewing seeds or tobacco. It was sunflower seeds as a kid, graduating to chewing tobacco later, even as a baseball writer. Can you stand around a batting cage without a chew? Pretty hard.

And do you know how difficult it is to quit chew? Very, I can say as someone who used to go through a tin of Skoal a day. Don’t hate me, I know attorneys and businessmen who do the same thing.

If you don't chew tobacco now -- good for you. And don't ever start! I'm warning you, it's nasty stuff that can kill you. Stay away!

But even if you don’t have something in your mouth, spitting just seems to be what you do on a baseball field. I don’t mean to be gross, but you know what I mean. Little Leaguers do it.

The only thing that will save the situation is the product developed by Portlander Rob Nelson -- Big League Chew. It's bubblegum that comes in a pouch and is shredded. And the best part, it's good bubblegum in a variety of flavors.

Chew the gum and don’t spit it out. That’s my recommendation.

OK, so seed- and tobacco-free, we've got that solved -- so now go play the games!