With Major League Baseball attempting to navigate through a 60-game schedule this year, a wide range of new health and safety protocols were implemented in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
They not only have altered how players can prepare for games this season, but where they sit in the dugout and extension areas has changed, and so too have on-field interactions and celebrations. The Los Angeles Dodgers have largely began to adjust to the new guidelines, but Sunday’s win over the Arizona Diamondbacks presented them with a new challenge.
“I think the only thing we need to work on are end-of-game celebrations,” Bellinger told Alanna Rizzo. “We don’t know what to do.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts agreed. “Yeah, that was probably the most awkward thing,” he said. “I expect a lot of wins, so I guess we better figure that one out. Going on the field, high-fives, tap on the gloves, we’ve got to clean that one up.”
The scene was a bit more natural following Monday’s win, but still subdued compared to normal a setting. If the Dodgers are looking for a solution, Justin Turner suggested potentially bringing the bubble machine back during a recent appearance on the “Off Air with Joe and Orel” podcast:
“I guess you can look at it as there’s going to be more creative ways of figuring out how to celebrate. Maybe we’ll bring the bubble machine back, maybe we’ll bring some of the old stuff back that we did in the dugout. Who knows? Obviously, high-fiving and hugging is something that happens a lot in baseball and it’s something we’re going to have to figure out a way around and come up with new ideas to celebrate one another.”
The Dodgers unveiled the bubble machine during the 2014 season. Whenever a player would a hit home run, he was greeted in the dugout by teammates and bubbles. Fans immediately took to the celebration, though MLB wasn’t as keen.
By August of that season, executive vice president Joe Torre advised the Dodgers they were no longer permitted to use the bubble machine. L.A. initially complied but soon after resumed incorporating it.
Bubble machine but with Lysol solution? 🧐
— Kourtney Turner (@court_with_a_K) July 21, 2020
Although Torre remains an executive with the league, there has been a changing of the guard at commissioner from Bud Selig to Rob Manfred. If player health and safety are not compromised, the Dodgers presumably would be allowed to bring the tradition back.
Changes for the most routine-centric
Clayton Kershaw is notorious for sticking to his routine, but the longtime Dodgers ace is mindful of the need for change in 2020. “You just have to roll with the punches a little bit,” he said.
“I’m a creature of habit, to say the least, I like to keep things the same and I’m very routine-oriented. But this year is going to be different, and I know that going into it. There’s going to be a new normal. We’re kind of getting used to that here.
“I think these three weeks were preparing us for what it might look like. We’re just going to have to do it. This year, we’re just going to have to accept it and deal with it.”
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