MLB Sets Safety Protocols for Credentialed Print Media

It’s not the most exciting topic and will have zero impact on Cubs Insider since we’re not credentialed, but MLB’s health and safety protocols for print media are at least mildly interesting nonetheless. Maury Brown of Forbes Sports laid out the new regulations, which start with a limit of 35 credentialed media members per game unless prior approval has been granted by MLB.

That Tier 3 designation is in accordance with the 101-page safety manual under which MLB will operate this season. Tier 1 is players and on-field personnel, Tier 2 is other essential workers who need to be close to on-field personnel, then you’ve got the rest of the folks in the third tier.

Here are the other guidelines Brown listed following that initial tweet:

  • Media members must wear face coverings at all times and practice physical distancing while inside a Club facility.
  • Manager and player interviews via Zoom.
  • Members confined to press box or auxiliary press box. No roaming ballpark.
  • Media allowed to bring their own food that will be screened. Some clubs may provide food, but if so it’s all sealed. Commissaries will be closed.
  • Stairs to press box greatly encouraged. Only 4 to an elevator with standing in each corner.
  • Everyone assigned a spot and you stick to it. Social distance accounted for.
  • Gloves not required, however, press location sanitized after each use
  • No walk-ups w/ BBWAA badge. All will have to apply for regular season and spring training. The postseason has always been like that.

Even with renovations to Wrigley’s press box, there’s not much space and I’m not sure how they’re going to make this all work. It might make sense to set up auxiliary locations as they did during the World Series, when many media members were exiled to the upper deck in left field.

I wonder how they are going to keep Paul Sullivan from roaming around the ballpark, but I’m guessing there won’t be anything to worry about when it comes to Phil Rogers. Which is to say he’s about as frequent a presence in the clubhouse as I am.

Though not listed here, the new rules call for everyone to vacate the premises within an hour of the game’s end. Good luck shooing Jordan Bastian out of there before he’s transcribed all his interviews and submitted a piece for MLB.com while also running a longer blog post and drawing an event from the game like Max Mercy.

As strange as it is to say I’m looking forward to the way these protocols impact coverage of the season, I am intrigued by how some of the better beat writers will evolve.

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