Major League Baseball suffered a scare just one week into the regular season when it was determined that over 20 members of the Miami Marlins organization tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19).
While the Marlins have since returned to action, the St. Louis Cardinals are still waiting to get back on the field after several players and coaches contracted the virus as well.
In the wake of these recent breakouts, the league is working hard to tighten up its health and safety protocols. A recent change that was made allows all 30 clubs to keep 28 players on their active roster for the remainder of the 2020 season.
According to Jake Seiner of the Associated Press, more tweaks were implemented, including a new rule that requires players and staff to wear face coverings at all times in public places:
Players and staff must wear face coverings at all times at team hotels and in public places while on the road. On team buses and airplanes, personnel must wear surgical masks or N95/KN95 respirators. At hotels, teams have been instructed to provide a large private room — a ballroom, for instance — where staff and players can get food and other amenities with enough space to keep their distance.
Players are discouraged from talking to each other or facing each other if their mask is pulled down while eating. If players want to leave the hotel, they must get approval first from the team’s compliance officer.
While in their home cities, players and staff are banned from visiting bars, lounges, malls or other places where groups of people are gathered.
Most notable in the memo is that MLB is now banning players and staff from visiting bars and other places where large groups of people are gathered.
The league presumably implemented this rule after investigating the Marlins amid reports that various players broke quarantine and visited bars following a series against the Atlanta Braves.
Dave Roberts believes MLB ‘got it right’ with rule changes
In addition to MLB increasing roster sizes for the remainder of the season, teams are also permitted to carry five players on their taxi squad. “I think they got it right, Major League Baseball and the Players Association,” Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the changes.
“I think that getting it down to 28 makes it more of baseball that we know, so there’s not as much matching up potential. And the extra taxi squad I think gives everyone coverage, so I think they nailed it.”
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