One of the things that’s been noted by many who have commented on some of the details of the plan Major League Baseball owners presented to players for a possible 2020 season starting in July is that most of those details have concerned finances and salaries, while the chief concern of the players is health and safety.
Now, from Bob Nightengale of USA Today, we have some of the ideas MLB is floating to keep players safe:
Don’t take it personal, Uber and Lyft, but major league ballplayers will be strongly discouraged from riding in your cars this summer.
Fans, you can cheer for all your favorite players from your living room couch, but please don’t try hanging outside team hotels because players will be advised not to sign autographs or pose for pictures.
High-fives will be strictly forbidden. So will spitting.
MLB, which has prepared an 80- to 100-page document addressing safety and health protocols, says it is committed to protecting its players during the pandemic.
Full details contained in that 80- to 100-page document don’t appear to be available, but Nightengale quotes Glenn Copeland, who is a medical advisor for the Toronto Blue Jays and QuestCap (and erroneously calls him “Coleman”) about things that might be included:
Coleman [sic], whose company has consulted with at least 20 teams in the MLB, NHL and NBA, says they advise that every player should be tested every day upon entering ballparks or arenas. He recommends a daily nasal swab, blood tests, taking temperatures and answering a few questions. Even if a player has so much as a sore throat, he would be quarantined for 24 hours.
MLB is not recommending daily blood tests, but temperatures will be taken each day for every person that enters the ballpark.
“Baseball is doing it absolutely the right way,’’ Coleman [sic] said. “They’re doing it smart, slow and methodical. They’re going not being pushed into doing stuff because of an urgency. There is no urgency whether we start July 4 or Aug. 15. More important than urgency is that we do this right.
“The players just want to be safe, they really want to play, and we want to make sure everything is done to protect their safety.
“I think the risk in this is small, but the reward, is quite large for everybody.”
All of this sounds great, if they can pull it off. But I find it interesting that he said there’s “no urgency whether we start July 4 or Aug. 15.” Nightengale’s article also notes that MLB wants everything completed “by the first week of November” in case there is a second wave of COVID-19 that would shut things in this country down again. An 82-game season with expanded playoffs involving 14 teams, which could mean as many as 59 postseason games, would work only if it started in early July and ended four months later in early November.
I feel the need to point this out every time I write about a potential MLB season in 2020. Having it in 26 cities in 17 states and a Canadian province just doesn’t seem feasible, due to various stay-at-home orders in those states. I continue to believe that the all-Arizona plan, an Arizona/Florida plan or the three-state idea including Texas are the best ways to conduct a 2020 baseball season. Perhaps MLB is still considering these ideas.
Lastly, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to keep saying this, but I believe I must. BCB is a non-political, non-partisan Cubs and baseball website. I have had a strict no-politics rule in place for comments here since the very beginning of this site in 2005. That rule has been relaxed to some extent due to the extraordinary nature of the times we are living through and the fact that whether we have baseball or not in 2020 is in part dependent on actions from politicians and government agencies. I am asking yet again for you to please, please keep any politically-oriented comments directly related to baseball. If you are thinking of posting something political that isn’t specifically related to baseball, I ask you to simply step away from the keyboard. We need to all stick together in these times. Hopefully, baseball will return soon. Thanks.