Monday, May 18, 2020

Baseball To Ban Spitting?

                Play ball!

                But don’t spit. Or high-five a teammate. Or take a shower at the ballpark. These are all verboten under the 67-page return-to-play rules that Major League Baseball is proposing  in hopes of preventing the spread of coronavirus while opening a truncated season by early July, The Athletic recently reported. The return-to-play guidelines, drafted by league officials, would also ban hugging and chewing tobacco and enforce social distancing measures. Players would be subject to daily temperature screenings and be forced to sanitize their hands every half-inning, while coaches, management, stadium personnel-- and their families-- would be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. Anyone testing positive would be immediately quarantined.
   Players not in the lineup for any given game wouldn’t be allowed in the dugout. Instead, they would be placed in auxiliary seating at an approved social distance. All non-playing personnel in the dugout would have to wear face coverings. As previously mentioned, players would not be allowed to shower at the stadium after games, a rule that will not sit well with the players’ wives and significant others. The return-to-play guidelines still have to be approved by the players’ union before the season can commence.
  How would these new rules be enforced? How will spitters be penalized? If a batter is facing a 3-2 count and reflexively spits, is he charged with a strike? I’ve heard of striking out looking and striking out swinging, but will he “strike out spitting” in this instance? Conversely, if a pitcher spits, is he charged with the equivalent of a balk? Does the opposing team’s batter go to first base? Or do armed security guards dash out and yank him from the mound, ingloriously hauling him away to be quarantined, never to pitch again? Are coughing, sneezing, belching and farting also forbidden? How about crotch-adjusting? What happens if a player yells at an ump or vice-versa? Or will they be forbidden from speaking, as well? If a manager wants to come out and talk to an umpire will they both have to have little plexiglass screens hanging from their helmets/hats/heads to protect each other from dangerous droplets?
 There are more downsides to the proposed guidelines. Immediately after MLB announced the no-spitting rule, stocks of all the major manufacturers of chewing tobacco, sunflower seeds and bubblegum fell by as much as 50%. And what will become of peanuts and Cracker Jack?
 Will MLB also rip out the long urinals from each stadium’s men’s rooms? In the past, men cued up at these stainless-steel conduits, elbow to elbow, like cows at a feeding trough. Will beer sales be curtailed or banned to prevent just such a gathering? Or will guys’ restrooms soon feature an endless series of stalls, spaced in a socially distant-compliant manner, perhaps each sporting a bidet in place of a standard toilet?
 Social distancing? No showers? No chewing, spitting, hugging or high-fiving? This isn’t America’s Past-time anymore.

Take me out of the ballgame
Take me out of the crowd
Buy me some Purell and some face masks
I don`t care if I never go back
Cause its root, root, root for our safety
No one cares about the game

Cause it's one, two, three spits you're out
Of the old ballgame
Cause it's one, two, three spits you're out
Of the old ballgame

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