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MLB steps up health and safety protocol

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With a coronavirus outbreak on the Miami Marlins, the league is increasing precautions.

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

By now you likely know the bad news that’s been flying through MLB. The Miami Marlins have had more than 15 players on their active roster test positive for the coronavirus, which has resulted in not only the team postponing their games for the week, but the team they just played, the Philadelphia Phillies, postponing games as well.

The Phillies have even started to get some positive cases as well, though none with the players.

MLB’s unofficial — or maybe official — stance is “power through.” Commissioner Rob Manfred is acting as though he expected this to happen, which is a sign that he’s been shockingly realistic, but also a sign of how irresponsible this plan was to begin with.

To help try and prevent further spread of the virus, Manfred and the league are increasing the health and safety protocol, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Passan reports that MLB is, “Mandating the use of surgical masks instead of cloth masks during travel and requiring every team to travel with a compliance officer who ensures players and staff properly follow the league’s protocol, sources told ESPN.”

For their part, the San Francisco Giants seem to be taking things rather seriously, a point that was emphasized when they had a socially-distanced celebration following Mike Yastrzemski’s walk-off home run on Wednesday.

It hasn’t all been good, of course. There are still plenty of times when the cameras show the dugout and players don’t have masks on. There have been high-fives and close conversations. Prior to the start of Tuesday’s game, cameras panned to Jeff Samardzija right as he spit roughly ten gallons of water across the dugout.

But it appears the team is trying to tighten their own actions.

“One of the procedures that we put in places is we know that every once in a while, emotion is going to take over and you’re going to see people bump knuckles, by way of example,” Gabe Kapler admitted to reporters, as transcribed by KNBR. “And when that happens, we ask that our players immediately move to a hand-sanitizing station and take that precaution … We’re going to continue to work to get better. And what happened in Miami, it gives us a good opportunity to continue to talk about it and continue to tighten up our protocols.”

Constantly evolving and tightening protocols is going to be a necessity for the Giants, and the league if the season is to finish. We’ll see if it works.