Folks, Major League Baseball really is going to come back. Like, for real. Baseball is going to be played, perhaps as soon as early July. In order to ensure the well-being of all those involved in putting on real, live MLB games in these days of COVID-19, however, a set of purpose-built regulations was going to be needed. Now, per insider Ken Rosenthal, we have the blueprint straight from the league.
And some of the safeguards are eyebow-raisers, to say the least.
First of all, how about no more lineup cards? The customary exchange of each team's starting lineup, bench and bullpen options is part of the bedrock of the game, and it's being done away with here in favor of what Rosenthal calls "an application," which we can only assume is a mobile app that totally will not have any bugs.
Also banned? Communal water coolers -- and spitting outside of certain designated areas. Strongly discouraged? Ride share apps. Oh, and "fielders are encouraged to retreat several steps away from the baserunner" in between pitches or when a ball is hit out of play, Rosenthal writes.
Further, teams will be required to provide adequate space for widespread coronavirus testing at not just its home stadium, but also its Spring Training site. When spring ball resumes, rosters will be limited to 50 players, and games will not start outside of a window between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. local time.
This is a lot to process, and even if the MLB Players Association were to accept these terms -- that might be a long shot -- ensuring compliance to each and every safeguard across all 30 of the league's teams at two different stadium sites each will be a major ask.
Expect fireworks in due time, baseball fans. Hopefully, it's just the good kind.