Don’t expect any champagne showers after your favorite baseball team cliches a postseason berth in 2020. MLB will reportedly ban alcohol from the clubhouse during celebrations in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
The league will reportedly deliver a memo to teams this week outlining the proper protocol for celebrating a postseason berth. One of those rules involves banning alcohol from clubhouses. The league will also ask that players celebrate on the field, and mask up as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the virus.
While Sherman doesn’t go in depth on why MLB would want to ban alcohol from postseason celebrations, you can probably take a few guesses at why the league went that route. Most alcohol celebrations take place inside the clubhouse, where players would be closer to each other. On top of that, the league probably doesn’t want a bunch of players in tight quarters pouring alcohol into open mouths. Also, alcohol and good decisions usually don’t go hand in hand, so the league likely wants to cut down on inebriated players testing coronavirus protocols.
All of those restrictions might make for more tame celebrations around the league, but that’s a side effect of holding a baseball season during a pandemic.
MLB working with expanded playoffs in 2020
The league’s decision to send out the memo now comes as a number of teams inch closer to clinching postseason spots. Most teams have played between 45 and 47 games, and will begin to clinch October berths soon. The Los Angeles Dodgers — who currently have the best record in baseball — have a magic number of 4 before they clinch a playoff spot. The team can hit that mark this week.
Many other teams should follow after that. As a result of the shortened season, MLB will hold expanded playoffs in 2020. Eight teams from each league will make it the postseason. That means MLB is dealing with more clubhouse celebrations than ever before.
MLB has spent much of the regular season updating coronavirus protocols in order to prevent more positive tests. While teams and players appear to have taken the issue more seriously, the league hasn’t been able to stop players from violating social distancing protocols during walk-off wins and no-hitters.
MLB has good intentions with its new celebration protocols, but it’s on the players to actually follow those rules when the time comes.
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