The Cardinals look to combat the coronavirus.
Recently, the St. Louis Cardinals became the latest MLB team to suffer a COVID-19 outbreak, with multiple positive tests among its players.
In response, the Cardinals will be upping their bullpen cleanliness to another level to prevent the virus’ spread, were it to reemerge. Specifically, Cards manager Mike Shildt said the team will change “a sterile environment into an uber-sterile environment.”
Perhaps the biggest detail is that any players not in the current day’s lineup will be barred from the dugout.
MLB has also responded to the growing number of cases, preventing players from leaving the hotel for away games after repeated negligence. For the Cardinals, it’s difficult to know what exactly “uber-sterile” means, but we can assume that enhanced social distancing and cleaning crews will be a part of it.
More teams should follow the Cardinals when it comes to dugout protocol, whether the virus is there or not.
Cleaning up the dugout cannot prevent players from contracting the virus when outside the ballpark, but it can limit its spread inside it. MLB installed a number of changes to the game this season such as face masks, social distancing and no spitting, but those protocols have often been flouted, whether on gameday or in training camp.
We have also seen that players have made foolish decisions too many times now to believe the virus cannot make its way through a roster. The least that teams can do to respond to these developments, beyond educating their players, is add another element of safety to the dugout, whatever that may be.
If baseball wants this season to finish, steps such as these will become increasingly necessary.