Obnoxious gum-chewing, sunflower-seed-spitting, butt-slapping, and Gatorade showers. Most things we associate with baseball will be prohibited should the 2020 MLB season come to fruition, following a 67-page health-and-safety protocol written by MLB senior vice presidents Patrick Houlihan, Bryan Seeley, and Chris Young and vice president Jon Coyles.
The extensive protocol also included other social-distancing measures such as players not participating in the game sitting on the stands six feet apart, baseballs being discarded after multiple players touched them, as well as no socializing amongst first and third-base coaches with players or umpires.
Though the document also stated players would undergo daily temperature screenings and anyone with symptoms would be quarantined, some players are still hesitant to get behind the plan. Washington National's pitcher Sean "Obie-Sean" Doolittle took to twitter last week to express his concerns over the possible threat of infection regardless of the safety precautions.
For the most part, Doolittle appeared more concerned over the possible long-term effects the exposure to the virus could have on the athletes. In his tweets, he linked relevant articles from Vox.com and The Washington Post to further help get his point across.
The 2019 World Series champion also displayed empathy for essential workers and emphasized everyone deserved identical treatment as the players.
In the suggested guidelines, MLB divided personnel into three separate Tiers. Tier 1 consists of on-field players and medical workers while all other essential workers fall in Tier 2. The third Tier would include cleaning crew and security which don't necessarily interact with the players. Tier 2 and 3 would receive coronavirus testing weekly, as opposed to multiple times a day like Tier 1.
While the proposal did address most of Doolittle's concerns, it is more than likely he continues to question if risking hundreds of people and their families is worth the 2020 MLB season.
Should the teams agree to the protocol and the details within the various cities hosting the season iron out the details in the required time, MLB hopes for an Opening Day before July 4 with a decreased amount of games played. However, with MLB losing around $75 million each day according to estimates by Patrick Rishe, director of the sports business program at Washington University in St. Louis, time sure is ticking and fans will continue to await an official statement.
Featured image: ESPN Illustration.