MLB’s Health and Safety Plan

Jeff Passan of ESPN breaks it down with an example:

Here is what a day in the life of a baseball player could look like in 2020.

Wake up. Grab the thermometer issued to every player in MLB and take your temperature. Just make sure to do it before eating, drinking or exercising. Then take it again. If it’s over 100 degrees, self-isolate, call the team physician and get ready to take a rapid-response COVID-19 test.

If not, you can go to the stadium. If you’re on the road, it can be on any of the six bus trips to the ballpark instead of the typical early-or-late options. Don’t forget to open the windows. If you’re at home, go to the entrance that can be used only by 101 specifically designated people. Put on a mask. Walk into the stadium. Maybe even be in uniform already. Get your temperature taken again. If it’s still below 100, you’re allowed in the restricted areas: the field, the training room, the weight room, the clubhouse. Or perhaps the auxiliary clubhouse, because social distancing is important, and 6 feet will separate lockers, and locker rooms just aren’t big enough to handle that many people and that much space between them, so the team needs to build another.

Might be your day for a coronavirus test, since there will be a few a week, so get that saliva ready. Also could be the monthly blood test for coronavirus antibodies. Since you can’t use hot tubs, cold tubs, saunas, steam rooms or cryotherapy, there’s no excuse not to get to the 4:30 hitters’ meeting on time. Just check whether it’s on the iPad or outside. Indoor, in-person meetings don’t exist anymore.

At least you can take off the mask on the field. You’ll be out there plenty. It may look a little odd. No water or sports-drink jugs in the dugout. No sunflower seeds or dip. Remember? You can’t spit. Or high-five. Or dap. Or hug.

There’s more, lots more. And this is just the medical side of MLB’s proposals. The money side has yet to be presented to the players.

I don’t know, folks. This is going to be really difficult. As Passan says before he goes into the detail above, “This, or some bargained evolution of it, is what it takes to have a chance at garnering the support of the broad coalition necessary for any sport to return: the backing of federal, state and local governments; the rubber stamp of local health officials; the buy-in of fans; and the collaboration of players.”

32 thoughts on “MLB’s Health and Safety Plan

    • It’s almost all on ownership, even down to the point of dismantling the minor leagues.

    • “Son, your past behavior has shown you’re such a schmuck there is no description that could harm your reputation further. Siddown and shaddap.”

  1. The Saturday Watch Party choice on TBLA, in about five minutes, is Game One of the 1974 Series. I saw Games 3, 4, and 5 in person.

  2. I am watching Game 7 of the 1988 NLCS. Through five innings, pretty promising. It’s part of True Blue LA’s thrice-weekly watch parties.

  3. ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt asks the right question: After already giving up 50% thru negotiations, are you willing to take another 25% cut but still do 50% of the work negotiated earlier? He suggests nobody would, whether a millionaire baseball player or a ditch digger.

    • If there is a season, I’ll watch, but I’ll feel uneasy the whole time.

      • Yeah. Particularly if they start to let fans back in. We’ve already lost the equivalent of nearly two Dodger Stadium sellouts.

  4. USA Today applauds Scherzer and players.

    MLB’s latest offer to the union to resume play in the midst of COVID-19 – a sliding scale of pay cuts that would hit the biggest earners the most – was about as subtle as one of Scherzer’s stomps around the mound. On paper, it was designed to make major leaguers look just like you and me and the MLB front-office employees asked to sacrifice amid a pandemic – protect the most vulnerable among us, and ask the longest-tenured and best-paid workers to give up more.

    Within the context of a half-century of negotiations between MLB and the Players’ Association, the overtones were undeniable: Make the highest-paid superstars with cartoonish salaries look greedy for turning it down.

    For those of us old enough to remember the 1994-95 strike/lockout, it was enough to turn a stomach. There was no World Series that year, images of October glory instead replaced by the grim expressions of Don Fehr and Richard Ravitch and Bud Selig, Tom Glavine and David Cone in polo shirts instead of uniforms trying to explain why baseball had gone away.

    This time, the circumstances are different: The players did not walk out. Baseball was taken away from them, and all of us, and returning to the field requires not just an already agreed-upon 50% pay cut to reflect a shortened season, but significant health risks, too.

    So after MLB’s latest proposal landed – “Red rover, red rover, send another poison pill over” – the union retrenched and handed the ball to its ace, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and member of its eight-player executive committee.


    “After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no need to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions,” Scherzer tweeted. “We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received.

    “I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint. MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.”

    Within the confines of the medium, Scherzer hit every high note with a message that might even resonate with the “I’d play for free” crowd:

    The union will not be broken, and in fact is unified from top earner down to minimum-wage rookie.

    We are already accepting a pay cut.

    The owners will lose money, too, but can easily absorb it, and we know they are unwilling to prove it.

    Scherzer’s tweet to some seemed to portend a nuclear winter for baseball. Not so much: He stated clearly where the players stood and why it mattered. Got that out of the way quickly, eh?

  5. Hyun-Jin Ryu says (no surprise) we should watch Korean baseball. I have, and it’s weird with no crowd noise, but it’s still baseball.

    “American-style baseball revolves around power, home runs, slugging percentage. Korean baseball is more based on your on-base percentage, closer to traditional baseball,” Ryu told ESPN through a translator from his spring training home in Florida. “They play sound fundamentals, are contact-focused. It doesn’t matter what part of the lineup you are, if you need to bunt, you bunt. It’s more classic baseball versus current MLB baseball, which is power-focused.”

    In family news, Ryu’s wife just gave birth to their first child, a daughter named Lucy.

  6. Good post, Steve. Because of the expected conditions that Passan wrote about, and for many other reasons, I don’t think we will have even an abbreviated season this year. I hope I am wrong.

    • I’d rather have no season than see any player or other employee take sick and die. If the NBA resumes, probably even worse, given the unavoidable physical proximity of players to each other. And handegg? Well, Wilbur…