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MLB announces health and safety protocols for upcoming season

Unfortunately, some of the silly rules from 2020 remain.

Colorado Rockies v San Francisco Giants Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

Another MLB season is about to get started. The San Francisco Giants pitchers and catchers will report on Feb. 17, at which point it will truly feel like a new, non-60 game season is underway.

Unfortunately for baseball fans who like ... umm ... well ... baseball ... some of the odd rules that were added for 2020 are remaining in 2021. Most notably, doubleheaders will once again be only seven innings long, and all extra innings will begin with a runner on second base.

Can you feel my smile through the computer screen, he asks while the keys of his keyboard fly off due to the rage with which he is typing.

This comes via an official MLB release, which also notes that roster sizes will be 26 players, and expand to 28 in September. Taxi squads of up to five players will be allowed.

While there are no new on-field rules for 2021, there are some additions to the health and safety protocol, including:

  • Players will have to quarantine at home for five days prior to reporting to Spring Training.
  • Expanded access to voluntarily testing for family members and housemates.
  • Expanded mental health and well-being resources.
  • A new Code of Conduct that prohibits certain activities, including attending indoor restaurants, attending entertainment venues, attending indoor gatherings of 10 or more people, leaving the team hotel for reasons other than team activities, and gathering on the road with people who aren’t a member of the team’s traveling party.
  • Players must wear contact tracing devices at all times when traveling, at the facilities, or partaking in team activities, and teams must designate a contact tracing officer and contact tracing working group.
  • Players and coaches must properly wear face coverings at all times when in the dugout or at the facilities, except when playing.

There’s not yet a decision on the universal designated hitter, which the players want but the owners are pushing against. Hopefully it stays away, but even if it does, baseball sure has some weird rules for 2021.