Last weekend Major League Baseball leaked a 67-page draft of proposed health protocols that could be put in place if and when the baseball season begins. As we discussed at the time, the protocols were rigorous.
So rigorous, in fact, that I questioned whether they were truly practical. The micro-level of behavior control the proposal would require, implemented in a matter of a few weeks, seemed extreme.
No showers at the ballpark. No use of taxis. No socializing with anyone besides family off the field, even where it is permitted in a post-lockdown environment. Use of separate baseballs for everything. No use of spas or massage tables or things players routinely use to deal with injuries, aches, or pains. It all seemed like a tall order, especially given how routine and habit-driven athletes are.
So you will not be surprised to read, as Jesse Rogers of ESPN reported yesterday, that some players are skeptical of the workability of all of this:
“Not getting to use any of the facilities that help recover our bodies is going to be a problem,” Miami Marlins pitcher Brandon Kintzler said. One player who requested anonymity asked, “If we all test negative, why do we have to use separate baseballs?” . . . The toughest thing will be relying on the younger players to really contain their social circles to just teammates and immediate family,” one agent said. “Containing that circle of people is probably the most important part of the plan to make it work.”
The players quoted think they can make it work, but it’s clearly going to be a challenge.