Nationals

Nationals

Travel protocols are down in Section 7 of the sprawling Major League Baseball operations manual. And, team travel on the road is outlined under 7.1.3.

The Nationals needed to flip to this section in preparation for Monday’s maiden voyage, a 1-hour bus ride up I-295 to Baltimore.

This is where danger lurks during the tenuous Major League Baseball season. Traveling from city to city, no matter the mode of transportation, remains one of the diabolical risks when trying to play 60 baseball games in the next 10 weeks. One slip could taint an entire pool. That blemish could send the whole league into a spiral.

The Nationals will board a bus together, covered in masks, and have double-screening Monday. They are in between the every-other-day coronavirus testing which started July 3. So, the team was tested Sunday and will be tested again Tuesday. But not Monday. However, their symptom checks will occur both at Nationals Park and before they are allowed to enter Camden Yards.

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“I think we’re going to come here and get tested, as we get into the ballpark, like we usually do. We’ll probably change here,” Davey Martinez said Sunday. “We’ve got some guys who are going to work out early here and won’t go on the road with us. Get our workout in, change here, go to Baltimore and, from what I’m hearing, we’ll have to go through the same protocol to get into their stadium. I suggested to all the guys it would probably be best -- some guys wanted to drive -- but think it would be best that we all ride the bus together.

 

“This is our first time doing this. I’d rather everybody be together and get everything done the right way the first time, then we’ll see what happens from there.”

The rules for travel, like many other things happening this season, are specific. No public transportation. Masks at all times. A controlled environment whenever possible (see the previously mentioned bus). In addition, face coverings, gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes have to come along. A minimum of two buses is necessary so Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals -- the only ones allowed on the buses -- can spread out. Spread out, cover up.

So, Monday is the Nationals’ first road game and next step. Different is assured in 2020. This is part of it.

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