CHICAGO – Starting a season with 30 teams and hundreds of players in the middle of a pandemic is something Major League Baseball hasn’t faced in a century.
Naturally, the number of safety protocols that would be in place for such a return would be sizable, and it appears that’s the case per a report from The Athletic on Saturday.
Per Ken Rosenthal, the league sent to player’s union a 67-page document that outlined the steps that would be taken to ensure a safe return to the field. It would bring about a number of changes to the game, with the obvious one being no fans in the stands.
It includes vigorous testing of players, including an intake screening when they arrive at spring training. Tests would be offered to players and staff’s families along with medical workers in a team’s home city.
Speaking of spring training, arrivals would be staggered and workouts social distanced, with teams limited to 50 players. The option remains to train at team’s home stadiums or a spring training facilities if states have stronger regulations.
During games, everyone except players on the field wear masks, with players not in the lineup sitting in the stands and social distancing. Smokeless tobacco and sunflower seeds won’t be allowed in restricted areas. Hugs, high-fives, fist bumps, and other physical interactions won’t be allowed at team facilities.
Limited travel also is discouraged in this plan, with players asked to refrain from public transportation or rideshare programs.
These extraordinary proposals come after the owners submitted a proposal for players to restart the season to the player’s union. Negotiations over that continue.