The boys of summer made their return in what Major League Baseball is calling “Summer Camp.” The players will have three weeks to get in shape for a 60-game sprint where coronavirus safety is paramount.
“I don’t have any anxiety about it. It’s a great opportunity for people to get an assessment at where they’re at health-wise,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said on a conference call.
CBS2’s Steve Overmyer reports that players will have their temperatures and symptoms checked twice a day. A positive COVID-19 test will send the player home to self-isolate for two weeks.
“First phase of many, first hurdle of many that needs to be cleared and once we get past that, it’s on to the next hurdle, which is getting the group that cleared the intake ready,” said Cashman. “And doing everything in our power to prepare them for a championship-caliber run.”
Teams will use the home and visiting clubhouses to dress and Yankees pitchers may use the stadium for flat ground throwing. Players will shower at home and clubhouse food will be served in individual to-go containers.
We’ve all gotten used to seeing players chewing and spitting. Everyone will have to break that habit. No spitting will be allowed, but they can switch to digging into the Bazooka gum. Also, pitchers won’t be able to lick their fingers before each pitch, so pitchers will have their own wet rag.
Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen echoed a similar statement Wednesday about the importance of player safety.
“So the behavior we feel that we have in place now as a community we think is a good one,” Van Wagenen said. “And we’re going to continue to educate our players on how we have overcome some of the initial spikes in the virus as a community over the course of the early parts of this.”
If more than one player touches the ball, it will be replaced and high-fives have been banned. Same for first bumps. But nothing describes the heat of the moment in baseball like a manager getting in the face of an umpire. That will now be outlawed, Overmyer reported.
If they feel in danger, players have the ability to opt out of the season, but so far no Yankees or Mets have done that, so it’s time for summer camp to swing into action.