Five interesting rules from MLB’s 2021 heath and safety protocols

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MLB launched its COVID-19-influenced well being and safety protocols for the 2021 season on Tuesday, rules and rules which were agreed to by the MLBPA, too.

Most of the bullet factors should do with the dos and don’ts of participant habits, comparable to the place they’ll eat on the street — outdoors seating solely at eating places inside strolling distance of a resort, for instance — and quarantine procedures for spring coaching. 

MORE: Spring training report dates for all 30 MLB teams

Instead of copying and pasting every part from the discharge (which you’ll be able to read here, should you’d like), listed here are 5 “highlights” we discovered most interesting. 

1. Facemask Enforcement Officers are a factor

Here’s the best way it’s worded in MLB’s launch: “Face coverings must be properly worn at all times when in Club facilities and in the dugout, other than for players on the field during a game or during pre-game warmups. Each club will appoint at least one Facemask Enforcement Officer and automatic fines will be issued for non-compliance during games, with fines collected donated to charity.”

This is an effective factor. A really, excellent factor. Wear your rattling masks, gamers. And should you can’t be accountable sufficient to put on a masks in an effort to guard different gamers and staff personnel, then it’s best to get fined. Absolutely, 100%.

I, in fact, had questions on precisely how this could work for the FEO, so I reached out to MLB. From MLB’s handbook on the topic:

The duties of the Compliance Officer(s) embody:

• When in lodges on the street, the Compliance Officer (or his or her designee) is accountable for monitoring the general public areas of the resort (e.g., eating places, bars, health facilities) to remind gamers and workers that they shouldn’t be using these facilities.

• Pursuant to Section 4.2 of the Manual, the Compliance Officer should make sure that the protocols on bodily distancing are being adopted within the clubhouse (and each different Restricted Area within the ballpark).

• The Compliance Officer should submit a weekly report back to MLB that features any violations of the protocols by Club personnel. In addition, the Club Compliance Officer should submit this report back to the Club’s General Manager, President of Baseball Operations, and Club President.

• The Compliance Officer should interview the Club’s house and visiting clubhouse supervisor after every collection and doc any departures from the protocols by both staff, in addition to any strategies to enhance compliance, in his or her weekly report.

• The Compliance Officer should undergo the Commissioner’s Office the seating chart for every flight together with a certification that each one members of the Traveling Party adhered to the well being and safety protocols (as set forth above and in Section 7.1 of the Manual) throughout your entire flight, together with remaining of their seats and sporting face coverings, and a certification that each one members of the Traveling Party have been important to enjoying video games.

• The Compliance Officer should handle your entire Traveling Party prior to every street journey to remind them of the necessities of the protocols whereas touring and after arrival on the resort.

• The Compliance Officer should certify to the Commissioner’s Office that workers and gamers who’re isolating or being quarantined are strictly adhering to the directives of the Club’s and Commissioner’s Office’s medical workers.

2. Magical runners are again!

As was the case within the 2020 season, each additional inning will begin with runners on second. This isn’t essentially a COVID precaution, however a pitcher-safety precaution. The sport goes from a season of 60 video games to a season of 162 video games, and there are legit issues about how that for much longer of a season will have an effect on pitchers. Too many additional innings may enhance the workload on pitching staffs, and that’s seen as pointless. So, magically, runners will seem on second base beginning within the tenth inning with a objective of avoiding any marathon-type video games.

3. Seven-inning video games are again!

All double-headers might be seven innings every, for mainly the identical causes because the extra-innings rule. The objective is to restrict the variety of potential innings every day. This is cheap. 

4. Three outs per inning is elective this spring

For video games scheduled between Feb. 27 to March 13, the supervisor of the staff within the subject can finish an inning early, so long as 20 pitches have been thrown. The concept behind this, once more, is pitcher safety. If a pitcher is scheduled to throw 20 pitches in a recreation as a part of his coaching program and he will get to that 20-pitch restrict with no outs, two runners on and three runs already in, and the supervisor doesn’t have anybody able to go, the supervisor can simply finish the inning. Spring coaching, particularly the early video games, is about getting ready the gamers to be prepared for Opening Day, and having a pitcher throw 30 pitches as an alternative of 20 may invite harm. Having to hurry a reliever into motion mid-inning as an alternative of beginning with the clear inning additionally may invite harm. It’s simply not essential, particularly early within the spring. 

Also, there’s this: 

5. Another neutral-site October? 

From The Athletic: “With the consent of the MLBPA (which shall not be unreasonably withheld), MLB also has the right to conduct some or all of the 2021 postseason in neutral sites (including other clubs’ home ballparks), or to delay the start of the postseason in order to reschedule championship season games following the completion of the championship season.”

The phrase “unreasonably” permits for a good quantity of interpretation, doesn’t it? It’s unattainable to know what issues might be like in October, but it surely’s affordable to guess that — hopefully — issues might be approaching some semblance of normalcy. Two vaccines have already been permitted and are being distributed, and Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine seems to be on the close to horizon. If many of the nation is vaccinated by August, it stands to purpose that groups may host playoff video games with followers within the stands (capability would rely on native rules, in fact). 

So possibly that is simply MLB giving itself an out ought to issues take an surprising flip. Considering what’s occurred up to now 12 months, that’s good. Could be that MLB cherished 2020’s neutral-site playoffs and needs to make that occur once more if in any respect attainable. Logistically, having predetermined websites actually could be simpler for MLB. We’ll see how that works out. 

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