Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Miami Marlins' clubhouse, Major League Baseball is stepping up its enforcement of health and safety protocols for the 2020 season, including discouraging players from leaving the hotel at all during road trips and implementing a compliance officer to travel with every team.
ESPN — The first extension of protocols in the memo tighten them anyway. While the league won't mandate an on-the-road quarantine, players and team staff will be highly discouraged from even going into common areas of the hotel. On buses, the compliance officer will arrange seating charts -- and, in some cases, separate groups of friends likelier to run afoul of the 6-foot rule, which the league is treating as sacrosanct along with the adoption of surgical mask use for all. The compliance person, who will be designated with rare Tier 1 credential status given to essential personnel such as players, managers, coaches and training staff, will submit reports and monitor hotels.
I'm sure this is going to go over really well. The guy sent down from MLB to put a bunch of guys making millions of dollars into a bus seating chart and make sure they don't leave the hotel will definitely be well-liked and respected. I do not envy anyone whose job just became telling Ronald Acuña and Ozzie Albies that they can't sit next to each other because they broke the 6-foot rule.
Every team in MLB now just has its own Gabe from Sabre.
I'm sure this probably needs to be done to an extent, but I can't imagine there are going to be too many 30-year-old professional baseball players who will be thrilled to have a glorified babysitter with them every day for the next three months.
And what happens if the players just at some point tell this guy to go kick rocks? Can they be suspended? Fined? I'd be willing to bet there will be players who see just how much power these compliance officers have been given, but it sounds like it could be quite a bit.
At the end of the day, though, if it helps baseball keep going then bring in the babysitters. Everybody is just going to have to put up with stuff they don't like this season.