Major League Baseball and the MLBPA agreed to relax COVID-19 protocols, per multiple reports on Monday.
The memo sent from the league to all 30 teams, per Hannah Keyser at Yahoo Sports, said protocols would be relaxed for teams that got 85 percent of its Tier 1 individuals — players, coaches, and those with direct access to them — vaccinated. The memo also said, “all players and staff are strongly encouraged to receive one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines when eligible.”
Governor Gavin Newsom last week announced that on April 15, everyone in California age 16 or older will be eligible to make an appointment to receive the vaccine. The parking lot at Dodger Stadium is the largest vaccination site in the state.
Manager Dave Roberts said he already received the first of two vaccine shots, and hopes that other Dodgers will follow.
“It’s a personal decision. But the more people that get it, and we reach that 85-percent threshold, we can kind of lax some things around the clubhouse and in the dugout,” Roberts said. “I’m hopeful, but that’s each man’s decision.”
Among the benefits for teams that achieve 85-percent vaccination, per Lindsey Adler at The Athletic:
The relaxed protocols for vaccinated Tier 1 individuals will include being allowed to work out in ballpark facilities without a facemask, be tested less frequently, gather indoors and on team airplanes and buses with other vaccinated individuals, and carpool together or use ride-sharing services. They will also be exempt from quarantining if they are in contact with a person who tests positive for the virus, as long as the vaccinated person does not show symptoms.
Teams that reach the 85 percent vaccination threshold will no longer have to wear masks in the dugout or the bullpen, or wear a tracking device. Players will be allowed to play video games and other group activities together in the clubhouse again, and they will be allowed to use saunas and steam rooms.
- Juan Toribio at MLB.com previews the 2021 season, and the Dodgers’ goal to be the first MLB team to repeat as champs in 21 years.
- Eighty-two of 100 writers at MLB.com picked the Dodgers to win the National League West.
- On Sunday, Jorge Castillo at the Los Angeles Times provided a broad overview of 10 Dodgers prospects, noting, “Every organization’s goal is to succeed at the major league level while maintaining a robust farm system. The Dodgers have arguably pulled off the balancing act better than anyone else during Andrew Friedman’s tenure as president of baseball operations.”
- J.P. Hoornstra at the Orange County Register offered 10 MLB storylines for 2021.