Before a single pitch was pitched, the Washington Nationals announced that their home opener against the New York Mets on Thursday night had been postponed due to members of the Covid-19 contact tracing. organization.
An unnamed player has tested positive for Covid-19 and four teammates and one staff member are to be quarantined after being identified as having close contact with the player, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said on Wednesday.
The game will not be invented Friday “out of caution,” the Nationals said. Both teams are due to play on Saturday.
“We’re ready for the long haul,” Rizzo said before the postponement. “It’s just a little beep on our radar screen.”
Here’s a quick look at the 2021 campaign:
MLB encourages players to get vaccinated
MLB strongly encourages players to get vaccinated.
On Monday, the league and players’ union informed clubs that MLB will relax certain health and safety protocols if vaccination targets are met, according to a source familiar with the deal.
Clubs with 85% of their Level 1 individuals fully vaccinated – which includes players, coaches and coaches – should expect less restrictive Covid-19 protocols, the source said.
Vaccinated players would not have to wear masks in canoes or bull pens and will not be required to wear tracking devices at team facilities, according to ESPN and USA Today, citing a scale memo. the league sent to teams on Monday.
Teams that meet the 85% vaccination target could also reintroduce traditional locker room equipment like saunas, hot tubs and pool tables.
Players will also have daily symptom screens and temperature checks at least twice a day. Contact tracing devices should be worn at club facilities, during travel, and during practice and team training.
Real people in the stands
The club would become the first major U.S. sports team to play before a full house since the coronavirus pandemic began closing stadiums and arenas last year.
After April 5, the Rangers will be hosting slightly reduced capacity matches with sections of headquarters in remote locations. Fans will be required to wear masks except when “actively eating or drinking at their paid seats,” according to Rangers.
The majority of teams will open their stadiums on Thursday to a capacity of 20% to 30% to allow supporters to distance themselves socially. The average capacity will be 28%.
“Baseball fans bring so much energy to the park, and our game is so much better with that passion in the stands,” wrote MLB Commissioner Rob Manred in an open letter to fans.
“We hope that hearing the sounds of a ball game in person is a significant step towards a 2021 that looks and feels closer to normal.”
The Philadelphia Phillies will have about 8,800 places – or 20% of their capacity – at Citizens Bank Park for each of the team’s first 19 home games. The New York Yankees, at 20% of their capacity, will allow around 10,850 supporters to enter the stadium.
“I think as players we didn’t realize how much we appreciate having fans in the stands until last year,” said Yankees pitcher Corey Kluber. “Having fans … makes it a more fun environment.”
The Arizona Diamondbacks will allow 41% capacity, or 20,000 fans, in home games, while the Dodgers will accommodate 15,500 spectators, or 28% capacity.
“It doesn’t matter if there are 10 or 2,500 fans or whatever, it’s going to be a special day for all of us,” Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw said of the opening day.
Safety instructions for fans
Precautions for fans across the league will include mandatory mask wear, pod seating, contactless mobile ticketing and concessions.
Some teams limit or ban autographs this season. Many stadiums will require 6 to 12 foot pads between fans and players.
“Unfortunately, autographs will not be allowed this season to ensure the health of the players,” the Baltimore Orioles said on the team’s website. “Please do your part to ensure the safety of the team and not to congregate near the canoe or the field.”
Some teams will check the temperature of the fans at the gate.
At Yankee Stadium, fans will be required to take a PCR test or rapid Covid-19 antigen test with negative results or provide proof of a full Covid-19 vaccination each match day, according to the website. team.
$ 1.5 million in free tickets for frontline and essential workers
Teams this season will hand out $ 1.5 million in free tickets to frontline and essential workers “whose roles have been crucial in supporting society during health-related shutdowns,” MLB said in a report. communicated.
Clubs will select the recipients – from healthcare workers and firefighters to food delivery people – and can honor “local heroes” at the games, according to the MLB.
CNN’s David Close, Homero De La Fuente and Jacob Lev contributed to this story.
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