World Socialist Web Site 03 Apr, 2021 05:30 am

Baseball season opens with thousands in attendance as pandemic surges towards fourth wave

Baseball season opens with thousands in attendance as pandemic surges towards fourth wave
Opening day is an occasion for trepidation rather than celebration, given the coronavirus threat facing players and especially fans.

As more infectious and lethal COVID-19 variants envelop the country, Major League Baseball welcomes tens of thousands of fans to its ballparks for the beginning of a new season Thursday.Major League Baseball (MLB) in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) had issued earlier this year a 108-page manual setting forth agreed-to protocols involving players and staff being tested every other day, mandating the wearing of contact tracing devices and face coverings, as well as social distancing practices including being confined to hotels during road trips, to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 infections.“The Rangers are encouraged that the Governor’s Office has given clearance for us to fully open Globe Life Field at the start of the 2021 Major League Baseball season,” Neil Leibman, the Rangers’ president of business operations and chief operating officer, said in a statement announcing the plan.Three days before the season began, however, MLB and the MLBPA issued a new memorandum to obviate most of these restrictions by agreeing that once 85 percent of players and staff are fully vaccinated, they would be able to disregard most of these protocols.

This would then allow for example, players and staff to meet outdoors with anyone on road trips, eliminating the restriction limiting them to household and family.This new and much less restrictive protocol is being utilized to incentivize players and staff to be vaccinated.

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