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Coronavirus concerns lead multiple teams to change autograph policies

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The Nationals, Astros and Phillies all announced today that their players will no longer be signing autographs or shaking hands with fans. The decisions come as the highly contagious COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread throughout the country. The teams will instead occasionally distribute pre-signed balls and other materials.

The statements from the Nationals and Astros (who share a spring training facility) are identical, while the one from the Phillies is more truncated. MLB recently sent guidelines to teams about how to best combat the spread of the disease, which included avoided taking items such as balls and pens from fans. The Twins also recently put a no-contact policy in place.

It stinks that fans are losing a chance to interact with their favorite players, but it’s quite understandable that teams want to protect themselves.

The CDC says that it may be possible for the virus to spread by touching an object that an infected person has carried and then touching your mouth or eyes, and that people can carry the disease without showing visible symptoms. Baseball players frequently come into close contact with each other in dugouts and locker rooms, which means that it would be easy for an infected player to transmit COVID-19 from one another if one of them was sick.

Other sports leagues are taking preventative measures against COVID-19. NPB is playing their spring training games without fans in attendance, and the NBA sent out a memo to teams telling them to prepare to play regular season games under those same circumstances.

One imagines that more teams will introduce similar policies in the coming days as more COVID-19 cases are confirmed.

If you want to learn more about COVID-19, give the CDC’s site about the virus a read. Informing yourself is the most important first step.

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Carl Crawford arrested on domestic violence charge

Carl Crawford
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Former major league outfielder Carl Crawford has been arrested in Texas on a domestic violence charge, TMZ reports. The charge was designated as “assault fam/house mem impede breath circulate,” suggesting that Crawford allegedly choked someone. Crawford surrendered to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday.

Crawford was in the news last week as well when two people — a 25-year-old woman and a five-year-old boy — were found dead at his home in Houston. The boy reportedly had trouble breathing and the woman jumped in to help him.

Crawford, who owns a record label called 1501 Certified Entertainment, posted a message on Instagram about the incident:

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There will likely be more information brought to light about Crawford’s alleged domestic violence incident in the coming days. It is unclear if there are any common factors between the domestic violence incident and the pool incident.