Some players are hoping for tweaks to MLB’s recent health-protocols proposal as discussions continue about how to safely restart during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mostly, players want to know whether some in-stadium and clubhouse restrictions can be loosened based on the plan to frequently test players and staff for the virus.
“The daily testing, I’m a fan of, to quickly determine our status every day,” St. Louis Cardinals infielder Paul DeJong said this week. “But given that, I’d like to see the freedom operating in the clubhouse and on the field.”
MLB’s protocols inside team facilities call for major changes to previously normal routines. From no spitting — or even showering — allowed at the field, to the discontinued use of recovery equipment — such as hydrotherapy pools and cryotherapy chambers — many aspects of day-to-day life would change. Even team buffets could be banned.
One player who requested anonymity asked, “If we all test negative, why do we have to use separate baseballs?”
That’s the crux of these players’ argument: If everyone who will have contact with the players has tested negative — including the players themselves — why all the protocols? They argue the virus can’t spread where it doesn’t exist.
Jessica Metcalf, an expert in infectious disease dynamics at Princeton University, explained that a risk remains because the tests are not perfect.
DeJong, 26, by the way, has a college degree in biochemistry. Talks between the two sides continue.