Major League Baseball and the players union have come to an agreement on a limited season that will include strict social distancing rules.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Saturday baseball will resume on July 4. “Independence Day and baseball go hand in hand,” Manfred said. “We picked this day as our way of letting the fans know things are getting back to normal.”
But things aren’t as normal as some would like. As the coronavirus continues to spread its way across the country, ball players will be confined to playing this season remotely.
“Just like many other businesses that have had to switch to a work from home format, Major League Baseball will be following suit,” said Dr. Karen Blakely, director of health and welfare services for MLB. “The safety of our players and our fans is the number one concern.”
Ticket holding fans will be given a link to a Zoom meeting, where players will be visible in a series of on-screen windows. Pitchers will announce their pitches, letting umpires know the type of pitch, speed of the ball, and whether it is a ball or strike. Batters will then verbally announce the outcome of their turn, letting fans and officials know whether thier swing resulted in a hit, home run, or an out.
“It’s not a perfect setup,” Manfred added. “But at least we are back on the field, even if that field is virtual.”