In a world where countries are on lockdown trying to prevent the spread of a deadly disease, expecting a return to normalcy in quick fashion is unrealistic.
That being said, MLB’s reported 67-page outline of the health protocols it hopes to implement once the sport resumes play represents just how much things figure to be different even as they begin to open back up.
Forget that players would be sitting in the stands six feet apart instead of next to each other in the dugout. Ignore the fact that everyone on the field would have their temperatures checked multiple times a day and bullpen phones would be disinfected after each use.
In order to understand how drastically different baseball might be this season, consider what parts of the game - as well as many things players take for granted - would be missing.
- Instead of managers exchanging lineup cards before first pitch, coaches will submit lineup cards through “an application.”
- High fives, fist bumps and hugs—looking at you, Stephen Strasburg—will be prohibited.
- Communal water coolers and drink jugs will be prohibited unless they have contactless dispensers with disposable cups.
- Smokeless tobacco and sunflower seeds will be banned at ballparks as part of MLB’s goal to eliminate all spitting.
- Showering at team facilities before and after games will be discouraged.
- Players won’t be allowed to use saunas, steam rooms, hydrotherapy pools or cryotherapy chambers.
- MLB also discourages players from using any kind of public transportation, including Uber and taxis.
It will be a different world in the short term even when baseball returns - and maybe some things will change for good - but players and staff will adjust and fans can't wait.
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