The Social Distancing Rules of Baseball (And When They’ll Be Broken)

As everyone knows, baseball is back! In a sport that’s obsessed with stats and rules (whether written or unwritten), it’s important to note that there were a lot of additions for this year regarding social distancing. Let’s take a look at a few of them and predict when they will broken!

No Spitting

This one hurts. Whether it be chewing seeds, packing a lip, or just hocking a loogie for the sake of it, spitting is synonymous with baseball. Players and managers have even said it‘ll be hard to not break this rule. The new normal is one that cares deeply about sanitation, so I get it, but will baseball players? Probably not.

When will it be broken: Probably today, and everyday. Until the season is over. Come on, they’re creatures of habit. The real question will be if there are punishments for offenders. Stay tuned!

No Tossing it Around the Horn

Another “Around the Horn” with everyone’s cool uncle, Tony Realli.

Tossing (or throwing) it around the horn refers to when a catcher whips the ball down to 3rd, then the ball is thrown to 2nd, sometimes 1st, then shortstop, and then back to third before it’s returned to the pitcher. This usually happens after a strikeout or right before the start of an inning after a pitcher’s final warm-up pitch. This has been outlawed, because I guess the baseball is covered in germs? I don’t know. Seems like a bunch of window dressing to me, but whatever. Better safe than sorry.

When will it be broken: Hmm… This one is tough because it’s a lot less subliminal than spitting. Also I can see a lot of catchers throwing to 3rd just for the 3rd baseball to hand it back to the pitcher when they realize what’s going on. When in doubt though, I fall back to blaming the Astros because they’re dirty cheaters. I guess they toss it around the horn on July 30th, leading to lengthy suspensions. (Or no suspensions, because, well, Manfred.)

No Brawls

Now you might be saying, “Gator, pretty sure you’re not allowed to fight during baseball anyway.” While that is true, it doesn’t stop the whole dugout from clearing out when a batter charges the mound. The MLB has made it clear that this type of action will not be allowed, and anyone that partakes will be punished severely. For one, I’ll miss the fights. It was a great way to spruce up a ballgame. Also, it’s pretty hilarious to watch a bunch of guys act tough, but not really trying to fight.

When it’ll be broken: During the 2nd or 3rd Astros game after Jose Altuve is hit by a pitch for the 3rd time in the game. The brawl will lead to lengthy suspensions, only for Astros players though. #Justice

No Arguing With Umps

In my younger days, I played the role of both a baseball player and an umpire. Only a few times did I have to eject a player or a coach. I think umpires need to show restraint because it’s an emotional game filled with a lot of grey. If you really think about it, the strike zone depends on the umpire and even then, it’s not perfectly consistent. It’s normal to groan over a call or two. It’ll be interesting to see how the men in blue interpret this rule.

When it’ll be broken: Sometime during the first week. Dusty Baker will come out to yell at some ump for the (justified) unfair treatment that his Astros have been receiving. He’ll be ejected and face a lengthy suspension. Toothpick and all.

Tie Goes to The Team Playing the Astros

If you missed this headline, the Astros have been cheating for the last 5 years (give or take) meaning all of their World Series wins are bogus. In a twist on tie goes to the runner, whenever there is a somewhat of a close play, the call will go against Houston. It’s only fair.

When it’ll be broken: It won’t. This is one that everyone will be happy to enforce.

There you have it. Five major rule changes for this strange and wacky season. I’m excited to see how it plays out!

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