Major League Baseball sets up a coronavirus task force

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Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Major League Baseball has established an internal task force to deal with coronavirus and its potential impact on the league and the season. The task force distributed a memo to clubs today with the following recommendations:

  • Players avoid taking balls and pens directly from fans to sign autographs — a suggestion that will be fleshed out in training materials the league intends to send to teams — and opt against handshakes.
  • Teams open lines of communication with the local public-health authority.
  • Front offices consult a local infectious-disease specialist who can serve as a conduit to health officials.
  • Medical personnel ensure all players have received the 2019-20 flu vaccine and are up to date on other vaccinations.

The memo also says that MLB is “developing recommendations to mitigate the spread of coronavirus at ballparks.” There is nothing in the memo about the possibility of postponing games or playing games without fans as overseas leagues have done. A strong focus of league efforts at the moment is to discourage travel by scouts and team officials to countries which are experiencing high levels of outbreak such as South Korea, Italy and Iran.

Life in early 2020. There will no doubt be more of this as time goes on.