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MLB safety guide has interesting rules, like no spitting. no showers


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SportsPulse: Former executive director of the NBPA Charles Grantham discusses why MLB and the players association need to start working together if they will overcome the financial hardships coming their way as a result of the pandemic.

USA TODAY

PHOENIX—- We no longer have to hear the words “prorated” or “pro-rata.”

We don’t have to listen to players ripping owners, owners sniping at the union, or fans trying to choose sides.

It has been 104 days since baseball was shut down – three months of name-calling and bitterness.

And while there may be 30 teams fighting this summer to be the World Series champion, but everyone has the same ultimate mission – to overcome COVID-19.

Major league players will start gathering this week for the resumption of spring training in their home cities.

The greatest challenge now will be staying healthy enough to play 60 games over 66 days.

Last week there were about 40 positive tests from players and staff members in baseball.

And only minutes after MLB and the union announced the season would officially commence on July 23 or July 24 when it was reported that Rockies All-Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon and teammates Phillip Diehl and Ryan Castellani tested positive for COVID-19.

No wonder why MLB’s 2020 Operations Manual consumed 108 pages, trying to give the sport the best possible chance to get through the season, with guidelines from washing your hands, to where you can shower, to banning hotel swimming pools, to restricted to room service, to even standing (or kneeling) for the national anthem.

Yep, the manual, a copy obtained by USA TODAY Sports, has it all.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous and unprecedented impact on our daily lives, our families and our communities,’’ the introduction reads. “This is a challenging time, but we will meet the challenge by continuing to work together. Adherence to the health and safety protocols described in this manual will increase our likelihood of being successful.

“We hope that resuming baseball will, in its own small way, return a sense of normalcy and aid in recovery.’’

Players have been instructed to report to their team’s home ballpark by July 1, with spring training to commence July 3, but please, don’t all show up at once. All players must undergo an immediate temperature check and two COVID-19 tests — a diagnostic PCR test and a blood-drawn antibody test.

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Players then must be quarantine for 24 to 48 hours awaiting the test results. And as long as they’ll be sitting around during their quarantine, they’ll be required to complete a COVID-19 educational course before they can begin workouts.

The pitchers will report first, and then the position players a few days.

Players won’t even have the same lockers. Maybe not even the same locker room. All lockers must be six feet apart from one another, meaning some will be in the home clubhouse, others in the visitor’s clubhouse, some in the umpires’ room, others simply in the stadium workers cafeteria.

Spring training will be divided into three phases, starting with individual and small groups, full team workouts, and then no more than three spring-training games.

Once the season starts – ooh boy – get ready for restrictions.

Players, who will be prohibited from entering the stadium if their temperature is above 100.4, will have their temperature and symptoms checked at least twice a day. They will have saliva tests every other day. And once per month, players will be given antibody tests.

There will be no lounging in the clubhouse. Players can’t come earlier than five hours before game time. They must leave 90 minutes after the game. There’s no buffet, only pre-packaged food. And no showers.  MLB would prefer players shower back at the hotel.

When players walk onto the field, they must stay six feet away from everyone. That means your teammates, coaches and opponents. The fraternization rule that has been ignored for decades now will be strictly enforced.

When the game starts, not everyone can sit in the dugout. Some of the players will have to sit in the stands, spaced out between not only seats, but entire rows. There will be no fans anyway.

And no more spitting. Tobacco is forbidden. You can chew, but not sunflower seeds. Gum is permitted, but you can’t spit it out.

Sorry, pitchers, don’t even think about licking your fingers. They can carry a wet rag in their pocket, but no licking.

Hitters, don’t look for a batboy or batgirl to pick up your bat. You’re on your own..

Don’t like the Houston Astros? Still carry a grudge against the Boston Red Sox? Don’t even think about starting a brawl unless you want to sit out nearly one-third of the season.

If you hit a homer, win a game with a walk-off, or even pitch a no-hitter, you’ve got to act like you did nothing more than successfully washing your hands. The days of mobbing players at home plate, dumping coolers of Gatorade, and shoving pies in their face, are over.

And when you get to your hotel, whatever you do, don’t stop at the bar for a quick adult beverage, grab a bite to eat in the hotel restaurant, or even use the elevator. The use of an elevator isn’t prohibited, but MLB is requesting all players to have low-level rooms, and use the stairs.

If a player even has close contact with anyone showing symptoms, they must be given expedited tests. If they test positive, they are immediately quarantined, and can’t return until testing negative twice, at least 24 hours apart, with no fever for at least 72 hours.

This season will be a survival of the fittest, and perhaps the luckiest, with the healthiest team the last one standing.

The operation manual really covers just about everything, and even if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in a city, forcing a team to abandon their stadium, MLB has the right to shift games to neutral sites for the regular season and postseason.

If there’s a significant outbreak on a team, there’s a 60-man club player pool hoping to cover it.

But yet, if COVID-19 rears its ugly head across the nation, once again shutting down cities, baseball will be helpless to stop it.

It’s a scary time. Every player has the option to not play, and those considered “high-risk’’ candidates, such as Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius (kidney disorder) and Oakland A’s pitcher Jake Diekman (ulcerative colitis), will still be paid.

This is no time to be a hero. These are not first-responders. They are ballplayers.

They are just trying to play a game they love, at a time we could desperately use some entertainment, with MLB and the players union trying to do everything to make it as safe as humanely possible.

We’re about to find out if it can work.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter:@Bnightengale

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Adrian Woody
Adrian Woody Author
Contributor At Industry News Blog

Having the apt skills to play with words to put forth various updates and news relating to the field of technology in an interesting way has made Adrian is a contributor in our organization. He is dedicated to writing articles related to all the up-to-the-minute inventions, launches, updates, and much more happening in the world of technology. In his free time, Adrian offers a guest lecture to kids about the latest inventions.

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