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MLB Players Will Need To Change One Specific Habit Once Games Return

Pitcher Kerry Wood #34 of the Chicago Cubs spits in the dugout during the MLB game against the Colorado Rockies on April 26, 2001 at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The Cubs won 7-2. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – When Major League Baseball returns there will be a major adjustment that the players will need to make. In addition to adjusting to playing in empty or near-empty stadiums, players will have to refrain from spitting.

Watch any Major League Baseball dugout on TV and the players are chewing gum and spitting it out. Players chewing sunflower seeds and spitting them out or just plain spitting, basically every few seconds.

See the pattern there?

COVID-19 is spread through bodily fluids, typically from coughing or sneezing, but spitting can do similar damage.

This habit must be broken to keep the dugouts safe. Now spitting might not be outlawed or banned but odds are it will be strongly discouraged. In an effort to keep everyone safe, constant cleaning will be done between games but not during. 

The same could go for those players who lick their fingers before they bat. Pitchers before they pitch or just fielders, who do it out of habit. 

This thought doesn’t only go for baseball. KSL Sports’ Scott Mitchell is like any other quarterback. He licked his fingers all the time before throwing the football. He said type of behavior will be tough to break.

“I would say I licked my hands multiple times before a play,” Mitchell said. “There are a lot of things we can do without, like fans it seems like a trivial thing… this is a deal-breaker. Quarterback percentage completion will drop, you will see some crazy passes. Moisture is critical to throw a football and it can’t be too much. I think it would throw everything into chaos… I would spit during a football game and it is not an uncommon thing to do.”

Major League Baseball said that if they are going to get this season started, they are going to put out a directive that players not spit or lick their hands.

KSL Sports’ Alex Kirry noted pitchers do both all the time and this will be hard to police.

“This is a non-starter for some of these pitchers. That is what they do. They whip their foreheads and licking their hands. We never thought anything about this. They are actually telling people not to do it. San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler explained this week that this will be a ‘tremendous challenge for the players and for me personally.’

“These players are basically spitting 1,000 pounds of sunflower seeds in the dugouts, and the pitchers have a love affair with their hand during the game.”

MLB will try to enforce this to help keep players healthy and reduce the risk of getting COVID-19. This seems trivial but these are the deep details that baseball needs to look at to add another layer of safety for their teams.

However, before any of this can happen, MLB needs to figure out a deal to get its 2020 season underway.

Tune into KSL’s Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast. 

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