Astros News

Astros: Baseball returns with some questionable changes

LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 01: A detailed view of a pair of official Rawlings Major League Baseball baseballs with the imprinted signature of Robert D. Manfred Jr., the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, sitting in the dugout prior to the Spring Training game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 1, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. The Tigers defeated the Yankees 10-4. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 01: A detailed view of a pair of official Rawlings Major League Baseball baseballs with the imprinted signature of Robert D. Manfred Jr., the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, sitting in the dugout prior to the Spring Training game between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 1, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. The Tigers defeated the Yankees 10-4. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA – MARCH 10: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros gives the “elbow bump” instead of the high five to teammates because of Coronavirus during the spring training game against the at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on March 10, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA – MARCH 10: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros gives the “elbow bump” instead of the high five to teammates because of Coronavirus during the spring training game against the at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on March 10, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Social Distancing

In the beginning, another adjustment will be the lack of crowd noises coming from the stands. I wonder how weird this will be for the players. As a spectator, it’s going to be weird not to hear the roar of the crowds on my television.

Among other teams, the Astros have expressed their intent to potentially host fans at some point this year. We’ll have to see how that plays out because players and other team personnel not actively participating in the games will be required to sit in the stands separated by at least six feet.

This leads us to one of the most difficult changes both for players and spectators. Because of social distancing rules, there will be no in-game celebrations — no high-fives, no fist bumps, no hugs, etc. Also, as much as is practical when on the field, players will be required to maintain a minimal distance between base runners and fielders and between themselves, coaches, and the umps.

Even though baseball is for the most part a non-contact sport, there are some scenarios that just might not work out for this requirement. For example, what happens with plays that require tagging? Or what about when a runner on first base is trying to steal second and the pitcher is keeping them in check?

Personal Protective Gear

There are some rules about masks that seem to not have been very well thought out. For instance, managers and team personnel inside the dugout will be required to wear masks at all times. However, players that are actively on the field will be pretty close together when inside the dugout and they will not be wearing masks. This mask requirement seems a bit of an obscure measure and to me is somewhat pointless.

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