Friday night MLB delivered to the Players Association a 67-page “2020 Operations Manual” that wasdesigned in the hopes of holding a season safely through the coronavirus pandemic. Commissioner Rob Manfred has said he wants to start the regular season by early July.
Here are some of the highlights from the the guidelines being put forth:
At The Stadium
- Players on opposite teams should not socialize, fraternize or come within 6 feet of each other before and during the game, warm-ups and anthem. The same goes for players on the same team. “Do not sit” areas of the dugout will be designated with 6 feet of labeled tape and coaches as well as players less likely to participate will be assigned to the unoccupied seats behind the dugout.
- The traditional pregame exchange of the lineup cards will be replaced by entering the lineups into an app provided by MLB.
- All non-playing personnel must wear masks at all times in the dugout and all personnel must make all efforts to avoid touching their face with their hands, wiping away sweat with their hands, licking their fingers, whistling with their fingers or any similarly unsanitary acts. Spitting is prohibited (including but not limited to saliva, sunflower seeds, or tobacco) at all times in club facilities.
- Any ball that is put in play and touched by multiple players shall be removed and exchanged for a new baseball. After an out, players are strongly discouraged from throwing the ball around the infield.
- Pitchers should bring their own rosin bag to the mound, and batters should have their own pine tar and batting donuts that they bring with them to and from the on-deck circle.
- First- and third-base coaches must remain in or behind the coach’s box and shall not approach a baserunner, fielder or umpire on the field.
- Fighting and instigating fights is strictly prohibited. Players must not make physical contact with others for any reason unless it’s a “normal and permissible” part of the game. Violations of the fighting mandates will result in “severe discipline.”
- Teammates are not to high-five, fist-bump or hug while on team property, and showering at the ballpark is discouraged.
- In the interest of limiting personnel allowed in the ballpark, no mascots will be allowed at the ballpark and the scoreboard will limit advanced video and statistics while not featuring replays or out-of-town scores at all.
- The duties handled by bat boys/girls and ball boys/girls will be performed by team employees.
Hotel And Travel
- The entire team must stay in the same hotel. Members of the traveling party are prohibited from traveling or leaving the hotel for any reason besides going to the game in any manner without team approval.
- Teams are encouraged to use smaller, private airports when possible. They should use regular crews for their flights, hiring pilots and flight attendants who fly commercially as little as possible.
- Clubs are encouraged try to book their teams on low floors of hotels in order to avoid riding shared elevators and ensure that hotels provide a private dining area for the traveling party.
- No one from the traveling party can use the hotel gym or any other shared facility.
- The only acceptable methods of travel to and from the ballpark will be participants’ own vehicles or the team bus.