The MLB’s COVID-19 return plan and it’s inevitable consequences

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Baseball- America’s pastime. Practically every American has a memory from some point in their lives of a day at the ballparksurrounded by the ones they love. The smell of freshly boiled peanuts paired with the familiar shouts of cheering your home team to victory. Unfortunately, this season is being played under less ideal circumstances due to COVID-19. The season was originally supposed to begin on March 26th, 2020; instead, training for the season began in early July, and the program started playing games on July 23rd. 

In contrast to other professional sports, the Major League Baseball Player Association made the controversial decision tnot quarantine their players and staff in the “bubble”. The players ultimately came to this decision by agreeing that it would not be worth having to separate from their immediate family for an extended period of time.  

Despite possible health risks, The Player’s Association feels comfortable with the lack of a quarantine bubble and are still adhering strictly to the CDC’s guidelines. Prior to entering the stadium, the players and staff have their temperature taken and their hands sanitized. The MLB stated, “after a socially distanced national anthem, it’s game time. Everyone on the field should practice physical distancing to the extent possible within the limitations of competition and the fundamentals of baseball”. In addition to social distancing on the field, the players not currently in the game are required to separate themselves throughout the stands.  

The situation is unavoidably different, and players have made statements on how they are adjusting to playing without the presence of faithful fans chanting their names.  When questioned on how he finds an adrenaline rush, Cam Bedrosian, a reliever for the Los Angeles Dodgers said, “there’s a lot of Redbull”. Relievers generally strive off the presence of fans helping them to have the strength to close a game, but Bedrosian’s caffeine substitution will have to work for now.  

Although the MLB enforced a thorough safety plan, the chances of no players or coaches contracting COVID-19 were slim to none. ESPN stated that as of August 21st, 2020, there have been over a dozen postponements and schedule changes due to positive casesSt. Louis is one team who is dealing with an outbreak, with 9 players and 7 staff members testing positive. The Cardinals have been forced to scrap 13 out of the already short 27 game schedule 

Despite the apparent setbacks, the MLB has handled COVID-19 the best they can, and it is safe to say that players and coaches are thrilled to have had the opportunity to return to the field.