MLB: Updated baseball rules on COVID-19 ineffective

A look at updated baseball rules regarding MLB’s COVID-19 protocols.

Last night, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that MLB had made some modifications to their health and safety protocols amid the current outbreak the Miami Marlins are suffering. According to Passan, the updated baseball rules were distributed to teams in a memo this past Tuesday.

Among some of the rule changes, MLB is “encouraging” layers not to leave hotels in road cities. Baseball is also requiring the use of surgical masks, not cloth during travel. Finally, each team must assign a compliance officer, or as Passan called them in a tweet last night, “coronavirus hall monitors.”

These compliance officers will be designated tier-1 credential status, the same as players, managers, coaches, and training staff. It is unclear who exactly can fill the role of a compliance officer.

What is clear, however, is that after the events of the past week, where the Marlins had 18 members of the organization test positive for COVID-19, resulting in the postponement of 11 games across four different teams, MLB felt that something needed to be done.

Unfortunately, baseball did the absolute bare minimum to remedy the issue. Sure, quarantining in hotels, surgical masks will help, and a hall monitor could work, but it just isn’t enough.

As I outlined in a blueprint for baseball in a COVID-world, outside of a bubble, the only way to prevent an outbreak is to implement rapid tests league-wide, to have a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who breaks health and safety protocols, and to begin working on a California-based postseason bubble.

Currently, MLB conducts COVID-19 tests every 48-hours. The results of said tests are typically processed within 36-hours, though we’ve seen numerous instances where teams are retesting without having the results of the previous test.

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This is the main problem with the protocols. Without accurate up-to-date test results, everything else is just pointless.


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