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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KISSIMMEE, FL – MARCH 11: A detailed view of a group of towels, Dubble Bubble chewing gum containers and packages of sunflower seeds sitting in the dugout prior to the Spring Training game between the Detroit Tigers and the Houston Astros at Osceola County Stadium on March 11, 2016 in Kissimmee, Florida. The Astros defeated the Tigers 10-4. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
KISSIMMEE, FL – MARCH 11: A detailed view of a group of towels, Dubble Bubble chewing gum containers and packages of sunflower seeds sitting in the dugout prior to the Spring Training game between the Detroit Tigers and the Houston Astros at Osceola County Stadium on March 11, 2016 in Kissimmee, Florida. The Astros defeated the Tigers 10-4. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Habits

Players will be allowed to chew gum but they will not be allowed to spit, chew tobacco or consume sunflower seeds. Baseball players mindlessly spit all the time, and my mind immediately goes to Jose Altuve and Josh Reddick. What will be the rules about biting fingernails or blowing bubbles with gum? And what about the pitchers who lick their hands before each pitch?

Some other recommendations are the discouragement of postgame showers and the use of taxis and rideshares. These things just seem weird to me. My mind might be able to come up with reasons for no showers, even if it seems gross to eliminate them, but visiting teams are going to require transportation to and from games. I guess they’ll all be renting cars and separately driving themselves.

Wellness Checks

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Multiple times a week, all players will be tested for the virus. I’m guessing they will have rapid-response testing because a positive test will require immediate quarantine. Also as a precaution, all players will be given temperature checks multiple times a day.

The regular IL for both pitchers and position players will be for 10 days and rules about players who are optioned or outrighted off of the roster have not changed. But there also will be a special COVID-19 IL for players who test positive, have confirmed exposure or are exhibiting symptoms. Such an IL will not carry a minimum or maximum number of days, but any player who tests positive will have to test negative twice in order to return to play.

Some of these things make sense and some of them make no sense at all. What happens to the team that has an active player that tests positive? Will the entire squad be quarantined bringing in the taxi squad? I have so many questions.

Part of me is super excited at the prospect of baseball finally returning, even if it is only going to be on TV for now. The other part of me is super confused because some of these guidelines make no sense to me if I’m to believe everything I hear and read in the media.

With everything about 2020 having been so very different so far, it stands to reason that baseball will also be very different. But hey, at least we’re finally going to see some live action on the diamond and that fact just improves the outlook on the second half of 2020!

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