Major League Baseball’s plan for a return amid the ongoing pandemic is in-depth and includes a number of precautions on the field.
Six feet of social distancing in the dugout and during the National Anthem. The requirement to wear masks when not on the field. The idea is widespread with the aspiration of not spreading the COVID-19 pandemic on the field.
Though, when it comes to what players do off the field, MLB has no plans to restrict their activities. The league just asks that they act responsibly.
“MLB will not formally restrict the activities of Covered Individuals when they are away from work,” the document said, via ESPN’s Jeff Passan, “but will expect the members of each team to ensure that they all act responsibly. The careless actions of a single member of the team places the entire team (and their families) at risk, and teams should agree on their own off-field code of conduct for themselves and their family members to minimize the risk to the team.”
This is different from the NBA’s plan to resume its season. The Association is planning on bubble cities with players quarantined from the rest of the community. Said plan includes playing games at Walt Disney World in Orlando and the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada.
MLB’s plan is for teams to play at their home venues without fans in attendance. While the league is not restricting off-field activities, players will obviously have to abide by local guidelines amid the pandemic.
That latter point is important in that teams in New York and California obviously exist in states that have extended stay-at-home orders. Meanwhile, those in Arizona and Florida will be able to go to local restaurants and even bars.
This could impact the season in a big way. If players are infected with the virus, social distancing requirements on the field could help prevent the spread. That’s muted by the fact that those opting to go out and interact with the community are obviously more at risk of contracting COVID-19.