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MLB Rule Changes for COVID-19 Will Make for Foul Ball

Recently I poked fun at some proposals for a return to the ice in the NHL submitted by an infectious disease specialist. Now Major League Baseball and its leadership have submitted a proposal to the Major League Players Association to get their players back on the diamonds in the National and American Leagues.

So once again I give you my reaction to these plans that are even more ridiculous than what was proposed for the National Hockey League. Below is the bullet list of ideas along with my reaction.

Teams will not physically exchange lineup cards; they will be submitted using an app

Come on now…this is one of the oldest traditions in baseball. What harm can be done with two managers coming to the home plate and standing across from each other and exchanging a piece of paper? They don’t have to shake hands but seriously no illness would be transmitted with the exchange of lineup cards.

Players must wear masks unless on the field of play, while non-playing personnel must wear masks at all times

If you can get an honest answer from any major leaguer ask him if he wants to take the field wearing a mask. A mask constricts breathing first of all and it also does more harm than good since anyone wearing a mask is breathing in their carbon exhaust which is unhealthy.

A new baseball is used after a ball is in play and touched by multiple players

When a player hits a foul ball or a home run into the stands fans get to keep the gift baseball. So a new ball is put into play. But to bring in another ball using this rule? RIDICULOUS. The powers to be in Major League Baseball have lost their minds thanks to COVID-19.

Players to stand 6-feet apart during the national anthem and God Bless America

Doing this will create a pretty long line of players if you consider everyone on the team will be in the foul territory in front of their respective dugouts standing.

Spring training rosters limited to 50 players

Only a little over this amount of players will be on the regular-season roster anyway so this rule is no big deal.

Spring games will start between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. local time to limit exposure to extreme temperatures

If you do your research, the sun is a healing element. The warmer the climate the better it is for an individual especially being in direct sunlight. There is proof that the sun will aid in viruses like the flu and COVID-19 so making players wait until the sun goes down is more of a detriment than it is to be playing during sunlight.

No communal coolers or jugs

This makes some sense even without COVID-19. Multiple people drinking from the same can be unsafe as it is.

Spitting, smokeless tobacco, sunflower seeds prohibited in restricted areas

This will boil down to what areas are considered restricted. If dugouts are included this will be a major problem. Too many players chew tobacco, some love their sunflower seeds which require the spitting out of the shells, and don’t forget the bubble gum chewers who at some point might spit their gum out on the ground. Just another ridiculous new rule.

Hand-washing recommended after every half-inning or handling of equipment

Do you believe all 780 players that comprise Major League Baseball are going to remember to carry out this rule? These rules thus far and those following simply put too much pressure on players who are trying very hard to concentrate on the game.

Dugout to meet physical distancing needs

For real? Are you telling me that the dugout which is already compact will require 17 players )when the other nine are on the field defensively) not including the bench coaches will be required to sit or stand six feet apart? That’s just not logistically possible.

Players, managers, coaches, and some essential staff will undergo regular testing

Given the 2020 season will be much shorter than a normal campaign, this cuts down how many times this group of people will have to have a test done. But my guess is after about 5-10 times, players, managers, coaches, and anyone else will grow tired of having to be tested especially since, at a minimum, Major League Baseball players are generally in excellent health and physical shape. Remember, there is only one way to catch a virus, this according to WebMD: “a virus can only be spread via the following transmissions: coughing, sneezing and that must enter another person by landing on or in their mouth or nose.”

Those tested must self-quarantine until results are reported

So what this says here is that once tested, a player will not be permitted to take the field while waiting for results from a test that if it takes days, they are inactive for that period of time. That doesn’t seem fair to me.

Individuals who test positive will extend their quarantine and undergo treatment in self-isolation

My problem here is that anyone with even symptoms of the flu is going to get a test and even if they don’t have COVID-19 because the flu and COVID-19 are so similar, the risk is being told that you have the virus even if you may not. Believe you me, during this crisis, this has happened. The numbers have been forged with many that have been reported having COVID-19 were simply suffering from the flu or other flu-like illnesses.

All will have temperatures checked and complete a symptom and exposure questionnaire prior to entering any club facility

This will get old..really quickly.

Players on visiting rosters should isolate at hotels when not at the ballpark, and socializing with family or friends is discouraged

It’s bad enough that our government is telling us what we can and cannot do, where we can and cannot go, what is permitted to be open or needs to be closed, but here you have Major League Baseball telling its players they shouldn’t socialize with their family or friends? Is this a democracy or dictatorship perhaps socialism? They saved the most ridiculous rule for last.

The bottom line is that sports for 2020 have been damaged and perhaps beyond 2020. There is no recovering what has been lost but it is senseless to keep making it worse by attempting to institute safeguards that aren’t needed further prolonging the absence of sports. Despite what the mainstream media is trying to convince you of and what our government is telling you, it’s still a pretty safe environment out there enough so that I believe sports can make a return to their respective fields and arenas without consequence.


About the author

Harv Aronson

Harv Aronson was born and raised in Pittsburgh but now lives in Florida with his beautiful wife Melissa.

Harv currently writes for Abstract Sports, the Sports History Network, Yinzer Crazy website, and the magazine Gridiron Greats. Harv wrote the published book "Pro Football's Most Passionate Fans" and as a professional writer has had articles published in an array of sports publications.

Harv loves all sports but football and baseball are at the top of his interest. His passion is for sports history. You can visit Harv's website at and you can reach him at [email protected]

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