It's Opening Day For The Colorado Rockies. Here's What To Expect This Season
Major League Baseball was supposed to start back in March, but it was pushed back, along with most major sports, by the coronavirus pandemic.
After months of delay, the Colorado Rockies will take on the Texas Rangers tonight. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:06 p.m. MST. The Rockies are visitors, and the game is at Globe Field in Arlington, Texas.
What will be different about this season?
First, there will be only 60 games plus the playoffs. If everything goes on schedule, and that’s a BIG IF, the season should conclude in mid-October. There will also be a 40-game division schedule to limit travel.
Major League Baseball has many guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19. Players will be tested every other day for COVID-19, in addition to monthly antibody tests. Also, players will get temperature and symptom checks twice a day.
If a player tests positive for COVID-19, that player must self-isolate with regular medical assessments, and a return to organized team activity will require consecutive negative tests.
In the game itself, a new ball will be put into play after one has been touched by multiple players. So, if there is a pop fly ball and two players make a double play – new ball. Anyone in the dugout or bullpen must wear a mask, but masks are optional on the field (although many players are wearing them to set a good example or protect themselves).
Pregame lineup cards will be barred. Celebrations cannot involve physical touch with another player – no high-fives. There will also be no spitting of sunflower seeds or tobacco of any kind, - a practice that has long been a staple of baseball. Fights are prohibited, and games will initially be played without fans. Depending on how the season goes and how the virus progresses, fans may be allowed back later in the season.
There will now be a universal designated hitter: Teams in both the National League and the American League will use a designated hitter for all games, including the playoffs. Implementation of a universal DH is intended in part to serve as an additional precaution for starting pitchers to remain healthy.
For the regular season only, a runner will begin on second base at the start of each half-inning after a game heads to extra innings. The runner will be the player in the batting order — or a substitute for such player — immediately preceding that half-inning’s leadoff hitter.
If an outbreak occurs in a city, the MLB said it is willing to move games to neutral sites to accommodate health concerns.
As for the odds of the Rockies making the playoffs and going to the World Series? Not good, according to oddsmakers in Las Vegas. But their division rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers, are favored to go to the World Series.