While the game on the field is mostly the same, just about everything else surrounding baseball is different than any other year in major league history.
Players can’t come to the ballpark as early as many are used to, which no clubhouses open more than five hours before game time. There’s no milling around in the clubhouse, and meetings — now much smaller in nature — can’t last longer than 15 minutes in any confined space.
Extra dugout and bullpen space was added, and players for the most part are socially distanced throughout the game, and any celebrations are somewhat muted, or at least are supposed to be to limit extra touching.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts noted the frequent Zoom calls, and less traffic when getting to the Dodger Stadium this season, but one change about 2020 stood out the most.
“Wearing a mask in a game is probably the strangest because I just feel a little bit suffocated at times, but it’s certainly worth it,” he said.
All Tier 1 individuals — which includes players, coaches, bullpen catchers, training and medical staffs — are required to wear “appropriate face covering at all times in club facilities,” with the exception of players during games, per the MLB operations manual. Others in uniform, like Roberts, aren’t required to wear the masks while on the field during a game, but otherwise need to wear them.
Roberts during workouts and intrasquad games during summer camp often wore a particular mask, that covered a large portion of his face and wrapped around his neck.
“I had this really good one, this gray one, but my daughter said I was wearing it too much, even though I washed it,” Roberts said Saturday. “She got tired of seeing that one so I had to change.”
Roberts since then has worn a variety of masks, including a Black Lives Matter mask. He said the Chargers sent him one as well, and on Saturday was doing his daily interview in the press room with a disposable blue medical mask around his neck that he said he has about 100 of in his office.
Here’s a look at some masks worn in-game by Roberts since.
“I keep kind of changing them up,” Roberts said, “So clearly haven’t found one that I want to settle on.”