No Spitting, High-Fives or Fighting: Details on MLB's Proposed Plan to Return Emerge

Rob Bradford
May 16, 2020 - 12:20 pm
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We now officially know part of Major League Baseball's plan to return.

According to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich, MLB sent a 67-page report to the Major League Players Association detailing the protocols that would be put in place when the players return. Included are MLB's blueprint for medical and testing protocols for COVID-19, spring training, facility protocols, on-field operations, league operations and transactions, travel and player and staff education.

Per the report from Rosenthal and Drellich, here are some of the particulars:

- Regular testing for players, umpires, coaches, managers and essential staff.

- The majority of tests will be saliva-based.

- Players will be tested upon arrival at spring training and then quarantined for 24-48 hours until the results are determined.

- Each club must maintain a designated testing area at each facility.

- Each individual will conduct daily self-checks at home, which will include thermometer readings.

- Before entering each facility each participant will undergo a temperature check while filling out an exposure questionnaire. 

- Clubs will be allowed 50 players for spring training.

- Workouts will be staggered throughout the day to limit overcrowding.

- Spring training games in Florida and Arizona will be held between 7-9 p.m.

- Communal water and sports drink coolers/jugs are prohibited. Only personal water or individually prepared sports drink bottles or contactless water dispensers with disposable cups or should be used.

- No spitting, using smokeless tobacco or sunflower seeds in restricted areas. Spitting is prohibited.

- Players/on-field personnel are encouraged to sanitize their hands after each half-inning.

- Lockers should be six feet apart.

- Showering at the facilities is discouraged.

- Hitters are encouraged to use batting gloves and batting practice pitchers should wear masks.

- Pitchers will use a personal set of baseballs when throwing bullpen sessions.

- Meals must be distributed in packaged/takeout form.

- There will be no exchange of lineup cards, with the lineups instead being logged into an app.

- Non-playing personnel must wear masks at all times.

- Members of the traveling party are not to leave the hotel unless they receive advance approval from team personnel. The only people permitted to visit players’ rooms are immediate family members. Socializing with other family members or friends is discouraged, but not entirely prohibited.

- On the road, the players should essentially isolate at hotels, with precautions such as a prohibition on buffet-style meals in place. Luggage will be sent directly to players’ rooms to avoid extra touchpoints, and players will not need to return a key or visit the front desk upon check out. Meal money should be delivered to players in a form other than cash.

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