LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) published a set of health and operational recommendations for the safe return of baseball and softball activity. The precautionary measures and recommendations -- named “Safe Return to Baseball/Softball -- COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines” -- have been developed by the WBSC Medical Commission in accordance with the World Health Organization’s risk assessment tool and “Considerations for sports federations/sports event organizers when planning mass gatherings in the context of COVID-19."
“Large sporting events such as WBSC World Cups as well as continental and national championships in baseball and softball have traditionally attracted many fans to the stadium, and therefore we have a responsibility to safeguard the well-being of everybody involved the best we can and not promote the spread of COVID-19,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “These new guidelines and considerations that the WBSC has published serve to reduce exposure to COVID-19, as the return of activity in our sport is planned or set to slowly begin around the world.”
WBSC’s full list of “Safe Return to Baseball/Softball -- COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines” can be viewed here.
Recommendations, specific to baseball and softball games, to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infections include:
- Avoid sharing of competition equipment. Each player should have his/her own bat, helmet, glove, batting gloves, rosin bags, etc.
- Batters shall retrieve their own bat when possible
- No chewing tobacco, seeds or spitting at any time
- Players (in particular pitchers), shall not lick their fingers
- Umpires shall wear masks and gloves
- If possible, avoid line-up exchange at home plate
- Avoid physical contact, such as shaking hands, high fives, fist bumps, hugging, etc.
- Ball prep (mud rubbing) to be done by one appointed personnel with protective rubber gloves
- Different set of official balls for home and visiting teams while on defense
- Coaches may always approach umpire keeping a minimum distance of two meters
- Home Plate umpire shall avoid coming in contact with catcher
- Minimum physical distance of one meter shall always be kept in dugout
- Bases shall be cleaned every half inning
- No bat boys/girls shall be allowed
National Federations, leagues and other baseball/softball entities are strongly recommended to develop their own specific written policies and operating protocols in coordination with their respective local health authorities before returning to competition.