Downtown Sports Network


Report: MLB ‘2020 Operational Manual’ will alter how baseball is played

A news report by Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports indicates the way baseball games played in 2020 will not look or feel like games last year or at any time in the history of Major League Baseball.

The  “2020 Operational Manual”, a 67-page document sent to the Major League Baseball Players Union from MLB was distributed to all of the baseball teams on Saturday. It is only the first draft which is sure to be altered a few times before being locked in, but some of the details in it are surprising and possibly could raise the question of is playing the season even worth it?

The Details

The details are intensive and decisive recommendations of how every game will be played should the two sides agree to begin the season this summer.

  • The traditional exchange of lineup cards would be a thing of the past.
  • There will be no more bench-clearing brawls, or even hitters charging the mound, with fighting strictly prohibited.
  • No high-fives. No low-fives. No fist bumps. No spitting. No sunflower seeds. No chewing tobacco.
  • Players will sit in the stands during games and stay six feet from one another in the dugouts.
  • Players will be asked to shower at home or in their hotel rooms on the road.
  • Possibly 10,000 COVID-19 tests conducted per week. Family members would also be tested.
  • Daily multiple temperature screenings before players can enter the stadiums.
  • Players would be required to wear masks at all times except for when they are on the playing field.

The league will also offer free diagnostic and antibody testing for healthcare workers or other first responders.

Players who test positive would be quarantined for 14 days and would have to receive two negative tests prior to returning to the team. From a medical standpoint, players determined to be “high risk” could opt out of playing this season.

All players would be prohibited from hanging out with players from other teams before, during, or after games. They will be mandated to stay six feet away from other players wherever possible. Any player who wants to leave their hotel on the road to go to a restaurant, bar, or even to go shopping must get permission from team personnel.

Training camp would begin in mid-June with an 82 game season kicking off sometime in July. Teams would have the option to hold camp at their home parks or at the spring training facilities.

Why Play The Games At All?

Baseball is supposed to be a fun experience.  It will be hard enough to play the game in an empty stadium with no fans. The energy will be gone, no fans cheering when a monster home run is hit. The relief pitcher striking out the final batter to win a game won’t have that flare, that arrogance that you see in a normal contest.

Now with his new proposal, the players won’t feel as though they are part of the game. A batter hitting a three-run homer will trot around the bases as the fielders back away, the third base coach won’t congratulate the batter-runner rounding the bag and there will be no one at home plate or for that matter around the dugout to congratulate the player.

Is the money that important to the players or the owners?  What’s the point of playing a game where there is no excitement, no joy, or no fun?

Major league Baseball should just cancel the season if they are going to change the game so dramatically that it really won’t look like a Major League Baseball game.

Almost forgot this one, there will be no mascots at any games.  Looks like Mr. Met will need to find another job for the rest of the year. Hopefully, he will be eligible for unemployment benefits.




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