Major League Baseball is attempting to safely play and complete its shortened 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic. In doing so, things have looked very different from the usual game. If you thought baseball had its quirks before... well now the sport is weirder than ever.
Take this incident from Sunday's Pirates-Cardinals game (GameTracker) when Pirates manager Derek Shelton exchanged words with home plate umpire Jordan Baker after he ejected left-hander Derek Holland for heckling from the stands.
One of the first manager-umpire squabbles of 2020! Kudos to the pair for each remembering to first put on their masks before they proceeded with the arguing, although, Shelton took off his mask for a bit during, so that's not great. And they both probably could have put a little bit more effort into maintaining the social distancing requirement of six feet, but alas, this is just the start of this new normal in 2020 baseball.
As it pertains to Holland, who was ejected from a game before even making his Pirates debut, he was sitting in the stands at Busch Stadium while heckling Baker's calls. When starters aren't scheduled to pitch on the day of a game, some teams are allowing them to sit and watch the game from the empty seats, where they can maintain social distancing. With no spectators allowed in ballparks to start the season, a lot of additional wacky stuff has already happened in the Opening Weekend. Like I said, baseball in 2020 is going to be really weird. Time to embrace it.
Under the league's new rules for 2020, players and managers are going to be held to a zero-tolerance standard regarding arguments and bench-clearing fights. The league plans to punish any of those who break this rule to an immediate ejection and subsequent discipline, including a possible fine and suspension.