Rockies right fielder Charlie Blackmon to read through the MLB proposal of standards of health and safety last week and immediately started planning a trip to the hardware store.
In an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus, the league’s 67-page note that the players received last Friday, suggests banning the use of such petri dishes as shared showers and hot and cold tub. Well, says Blackmon, who is recognized as one of Colorado employees for their pre – and post-game routines. These include at least one session in the cold tub per day.
His solution, he says: “I am going to go to Home Depot and get a 50 gallon rubber trash and go to put it in the closet with the assistant to dump a bunch of ice and a hose on him.”
There are much more serious such as the united states closes in 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. But as MLB attempts to forge a way forward, is facing an elementary problem: the Baseball is fundamentally unsuitable for the cleaning.
Consider a typical game: The batter, who has spent the afternoon sharing baths and showers with their team mates, it approaches the plate. You can spit in their hands or to rub dirt in them to improve your grip on the stick that already has covered with pine tar. He spits tobacco juice on the floor, inches from the receiver and the referee. Sixty feet, six inches away, the shooter strokes on the pine tar subtly applied to your lid, then blend with the sunscreen and the sweat on his forearm and a bit of resin in the bag of every other pitcher of the two teams is going to play. Find the ball is still too dry, he licks his hands, and then massage it. The batter singles. The ball rolls around in the grass until a player throws in. The runner on third has scored. Each member of your team congratulates him with a maximum of five. This is an epidemiologist’s worst nightmare.
Even so, give MLB credit for trying. The league proposal includes provisions such as the prohibition of a hot tub shared. Asking the players of the shower at home or in the hotel. (“Congratulations to the teams that play in Atlanta in August,” twitter Brewers left-hander Brett Anderson.) It encourages teams to use any other locker, and set up extra clubs to promote social distancing. Limiting the number of instructors from two-and suggests that teams limit the number of players in the training and weight rooms. It commands the washing of hands between the posts. (Of the legendarily grimy dugout bathrooms, Braves right-hander Josh Tomlin, he says with a laugh, “I think that it is getting colder in the risk of touching the knob of the door.”) It outlaws the sunflower seeds and chewing tobacco, and the resulting spitting. It is prohibited to high fives. (Nationals reliever Daniel Hudson preemptively regretting the first time you save a game, and he and the receiver will begin to run toward each other before remember.)
The players are mixed in their reaction to the proposal, but the majority seems to agree with Blackmon, who says that some of the details that bothers you, “but at the same time, I’m not going to be stubborn and not adapt and make a great scandal that we miss out on the games due to my personal feelings.”
The majority of the players of the main concerns that are derived from your wellbeing and that of their loved ones. Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle, the wife of Eireann Dolan, has a history of respiratory problems, and he has expressed concern that his participation in the season could expose him to danger. Tomlin says his wife and three small children left at home in Tyler, Tx., instead of accompanying him to baseball stadiums. Hudson says he fears the team of trainers, with the task of managing COVID tests, at high risk of contracting the disease. In a statement, a spokesman for MLB, said, “in the Midst of significant uncertainty, the unpredictability of the COVID-19 and of the evolution of the state and local orders, our greatest concern remains clear: the health and safety of our players, employees, fans and the public in general”.
And then there are the typical concerns of an athlete embarking on a season. “Speak of the safety and health with the virus,” Cardinals reliever Andrew Miller said. “But, what about our health and the safety of the players?”
Miller missed most of three months, in 2018, because of injuries to his hamstring-left, right knee and left shoulder. He turned 35 last week. He tries to get in the stadium early each day, it will be more difficult if the league is successful in encouraging players to use only the equipment of the bus. (Miller is on board with that one, though. “I don’t think I’ll be taking the 4 train to Yankee Stadium anyway,” he says.) When he gets there, he begins a long pregame routine designed to keep you in game shape.
No one seems to think that two coaches are sufficient, or that the staggered trips to the weight room will give enough time for each player. The Nationals, Hudson points out, were the oldest team in baseball last year, with an average age of 30.9. They need all the help they can get when it comes to keeping their bodies, which usually means that the working time with the trainers as well as the time on your own stretch. In the weight room before a game, Hudson says, “There are more guys there getting ready to take BP there are guys who work out.”
Even so, these concerns seem manageable. Maybe increase the number of trainers and set up outdoor of the weight of the areas. And most of the rest are of minor importance, right? As no spitting?
“Wait, what?” Blackmon says. “I am 100% going to spit it out. That is ingrained in my way of playing the game. If I am or I’m not dipping or chewing gum, I’m still going to spit it out. I have that to occupy my mind. It’s like putting things on auto-pilot. You look like Hunter Pence, where he would be constantly adjusting his uniform. I do not have this idle time that my mind wanders. I fill my time with thought processes that are like a cruise control.”
Tomlin is right there with him. It is “probably not” physically possible for him to play baseball without spitting, he said. He is addicted to tobacco, but even if you switch to a nicotine patch or start the lighting of cigarettes behind the shed, he will not be able to stop spitting, because all but the black on the mound.
“If I’m spitting, I don’t remember spitting it out,” he says. If I can pick up dirt, and wipe it on the ball, I don’t think to do it before I do. It just happens. Hell, I do it by playing the ball at times!”
So if we have a 2020 baseball season—if the league and the players association can negotiate an agreement when it comes to money, if the league you can ensure sufficient testing to ensure the safety of participants, if the local governments allow them to start playing—there will probably be some kind of agreement. Blackmon will prefer the public bath and cold or up to your garbage. Between pitches, he’s going to spit it out. And among the entries, that’s going to wash his hands.