Baseball’s annual All-Star break would begin tomorrow … if this were a normal, pandemic-free world. Which it’s not.
It is …
… a cheese on apple pie, Wile E. Coyote catches the Roadrunner, messed up, all wrong, pandemic-full world.
It is a cat’s hairball atop a dead cactus atop that moldy slimy thing in the back of the fridge atop the mouse that died under the couch that we didn’t know about until … that smell … world.
It is horrible.
It is a world where Mike Trout’s mother tweets a photo of Mike Trout wearing a mask while playing because she wants to encourage people to wear masks because a lot of people seem to not understand the concept of how masks work to mitigate the spread of disease.
And, “Wear a mask so you won’t die or make other people sick” is, apparently, not encouragement enough for some people.
Sorry. Wandered off.
Even if you can’t stand the All-Star Break and the interminable Home Run Derby, it’s a far sight better than trying to follow training camp in a bubble.
Some players, including David Price, Buster Posey, and Ryan Zimmerman, are opting out of the season – forgoing their 2020 salaries – and I don’t blame them.
I don’t want anybody to take a risk just so I can watch a weirded-up baseball game on television.
(In other words, don’t blame me when this all goes to hell.)
Teams are starting to pipe in crowd noises to create a semblance of normal. Some teams are inviting fans to send photos of themselves that will be blown up into life size “seat-sitters” that will be placed throughout the park.
Fans are, I guess, both indispensable and easily replaceable.
Meanwhile in Canada, Toronto Blue Jays players face up to $750,000 in fines and potential jail time if they break strict quarantine rules and leave the team complex.
NO. LEAVING. THE. BUBBLE.
However, if that’s $750,000 in Canadian dollars, that would only be about $550,000 in US dollars. I’m not sure what the baseline is where breaking curfew becomes worth it.
(I’ll admit, the jail time part has me intrigued, in a “maybe someone will break training just so we can see if they really do wind up in jail” way.)
Actual blue jay. Fleeing.
But, let’s revisit the one safety protocol I think we can all get behind.
Perhaps you’re like me – you don’t spit while you’re working and you’re thinking, “How hard can it be?”
He spits. He blinks. He plays third base.
Let Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner explain:
“It’s just almost second nature. Spitting for a pro baseball player is like blinking. It’s going to be a tough habit to break.”
Fun Fact: the average human blinks 15 to 20 times a minute. It’s essential to keep our eyes lubricated. (Science!)
(So … do ballplayers – who spit away essential hydrating fluids with reckless abandon – suffer more from dry eyes? And, will the ban on spitting lead to team cost-savings on Gatorade?)
Oh, wait. Justin’s not done with the spitting discussion:
“It’s not even just spitting on the ground. A lot of us have routines and habits. You spit a little bit on your glove before each pitch.”
In solidarity with Justin and all those spit-happy players, I am vowing not to spit on the floor or on my hands, or anywhere, really, while watching, reading about, or writing about baseball.
Because I’m a team player.
Join me, won’t you?
* * *
One last thing from my own at-home Bubble …
On March 10, Virginia played UMass-Lowell. Virginia won 24-5.
A blowout, clearly. But, we stayed until the end.
Here’s Tate Ballestero, a first-year, coming in late in the game to play first.
It’s not the best photo I took that day. Not even a particularly good one. It’s important only because it was the last one.
Thank goodness, it wasn’t blurry.
There’s No Spitting In My Bubble. Sincerely, Your Friend, The Baseball Bloggess
Jackie, I get the sense that for both of us, this whole bastardized season is becoming just exhausting, like a bad dream from which we can’t awaken. Honestly, I wish they would just call the whole thing off. If Buster Posey is walking away from it- one of the gutsiest players ever, who has played through everything- than that’s got to tell you something.
I’ll probably listen to some of the games, when they start; how can I not? But, it will be with a mixture of sadness and fear that this might kill off major league baseball for good. (Of course, it could be argued that MLB has become so bloated and money driven that it could use a collapse and rebuild- but, that’s another subject.)
Thanks for hanging in there, as we traverse a landscape we never expected to see. You’re good company.
I was so glad Buster Posey opted out. I wish a few more would … maybe that would tip the scales and they would just shut this down. This season will end badly … one way or another.
But, while I wish they would shut it down, I’ll probably watch any games they have. Plus, you’ll get to listen to Kruk and Kuip, and Jon Miller out there … don’t give up on that! I’ve swallowed hard and decided to pay for the Extra Innings package … just for the Giants broadcasters. And, I think evening games are starting earlier out there for the 2020 season which means I really *will* get to hear some of the games.
But, all that said … I’d be relieved if they just canceled the season.
Every time I spit out my mouthwash I will remember this post and smile. I just hope that we don’t see players getting sick during this attempt to have some kind of season. But a dead mouse under the couch — yikes!
Spitting out mouthwash and toothpaste is allowed. (And, the cats insist they be allowed to spit out hairballs, should the need arise.)
I’m on board. No spitting here–and I say this as one of those weirdos who enjoys the Home Run Derby..
Spitting out toothpaste, mouthwash, and bad-tasting things is approved. Just not on the floor, please.
I wonder if someone will be watching the games with a clipboard, counting how many times they catch each player spit during the game. I know they like eating sunflower seeds while waiting for the ball to maybe be hit in their direction, maybe they’ll just have to stop eating them??
Just to clarify the Blue Jays rule – haha that’s actually a Canadian Law for anyone who breaks quarantine once they’ve come in from another country, and not a threat by the Blue Jays. The fine is – up to – $750,000. Imagine if teams could threaten players with jail time though?
I’ve read that some players have specifically been wearing masks to help them adapt to the no spitting, no seeds rules.
I’ve been so confused over the Canadian regs and how they will apply to the Blue Jays. Mind you, I think the rules are good (I think MLB should just scrub the season), but they’re going to have to bend rules to allow visiting teams to come in and go out and come in and go out — there’s only so much “bubble” MLB can provide. Plus, they’re asking the Blue Jays players to quarantine for the entire season, which is, I’m guessing, beyond the letter of the regs. Although the Blue Jays ownership is clear they will not step in the way of the regulations.
I know that the Jays AAA affiliate in Buffalo, NY has a spacious stadium and I thought maybe they’d just slip over there for the season and avoid the confusion. (If I were Canada, that’s what I would suggest.)
I’m justing picturing some players wearing a mask out on the field and spitting seeds into it during the game and then going over to the dugout and dumping out their collection. It’s like a diaper…on their face. (Sorry for the visual, it sounded less gross in my head haha)
The Blue Jays don’t actually know where they’re playing their home games yet! The government hasn’t signed off on visiting teams coming in and out of Toronto, let alone Toronto coming in and out. The only agreement so far was the Jays could quarantine at the stadium/connecting hotels for 2 weeks. On July 21, they’re headed to Boston for some exhibition games and then to Tampa to start the season. It’s as if MLB has forgotten they have a team in Canada.
Buffalo makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? The team said it’s not an option though, and it’ll be the location for their extra players to train during the year.
It’s a mess.
A diaper on their face full of seeds (or tobacco). I will never be able to unsee that!
Be strong, Canada … you’re the only smart ones around here these days. Don’t let MLB mess things up for you.
I’m with you Jackie when you say “I don’t want anybody to take a risk just so I can watch a weirded-up baseball game on television.”
I love that Trout is wearing a mask and I wish the MLB would make it mandatory…to send a message to kids, adults, and all baseball fans.
But with players contracting the virus as I guess a similar rate to some states, it makes more sense to pack it up, shut the season down, and look forward to 2021….or I should say hopefully look forward to it because who knows with the way this is lingering and spiking all over the place…sad and scary.
I’m with you 100%, Steve. They’ve cobbled together a 60-game season that feels wrong already. Players making difficult opt-out decisions. Teams playing only their AL/NL neighbors. Weird, barely tested new rules — like that runner on 2nd to start extra innings rule and the universal DH. “Stay in the bubble” demands on players that will make the season feel like that show “Big Brother” where everyone stays locked in a house for the summer. No minor leagues. Big, empty fan-less stadiums. And, a heavy pall of dread that something very bad could happen if even just one player gets sick.
Even if they get through this season, it’s going be one big, ugly, stinky blot on the record and history books. So, why are we even bothering?
So can you balk home the winning run by spitting in your glove on the mound with a runner on third?
Bubble rules! And, what if a position player spits or the batter spits on his glove?
And, who will be the “spit police”?
Who will monitor for improper high fives and butt pats?
Perhaps the opposing manager will have to ask the replay umpires out there in their secret replay hideaway to take a look at the tape. And, while fans are awaiting the decision, television will show and reshow the alleged infraction over and over from different angles and in slo-motion. Fun! :)
Like we’ve talked about before, I’m on board with no spitting. That should be a rule past this season. I almost didn’t even realize we were at All-Star break time until I checked my Timehop and saw things I had retweeted last year from the Derby and the game.
By the way, since you brought it up, I think a thick slice of melted cheddar cheese on my apple pie is great- but, I’m in California, and we’re known to be a little perverse, out here.
Well, ok! I think it was a Midwestern thing, too. I haven’t seen it out here in Virginia … but, maybe I’m just not hanging with the right people! :)
I know, I was surprised, too, that we have missed half the season already.