Major League Baseball has put a great deal of thought and preparation into this year’s abbreviated, sixty-game season. With player health and safety paramount, the rule changes will be implemented on a rolling basis as the season progresses. To limit player risk and exposure, MLB has decided to shorten playing time; with every extra inning, runners will start at second base. To further restrict player exposure, fans will also not be allowed to attend games. Instead, there will be cardboard cutouts of season-ticket holders that will be placed in the seats behind the home plate. Off the field, players will be banned from visiting bars and honky-tonks from now on.
Games that involve players who have tested positive for COVID -19 will be postponed. These games will be rescheduled and will serve as part of a shortened version of the seven-inning doubleheader. The Cardboard cutouts for the season-ticket holders can now leave earlier to beat the traffic. At the same time, they sprint down the hotel’s rear stairway to visit bars and honky-tonks. Still, they must consider confining themselves to those venues’ less-crowded V.I.P. lounges. For Players, it’s one thing to sneak out to bars and honky-tonks, but hijacking the team bus for said visits and then inviting those you met to hop on the bus for a late-night “city tour” is not okay and is discouraged.
To further shorten playing time, every game will start at the top of the ninth inning with the home team leading, 8–0. Due to the growing “situation,” players will be replaced in games by cardboard cutouts, provided that the players are also season-ticket holders. Players who flee their hotels and can’t be easily located and retrieved because they aren’t hiding in the first place we’d look will be billed for repatriation services by Major League Baseball. And while we’re at it, why can’t players be more like the cardboard cutouts of season-ticket holders? Disease-free, always smiling, and well-behaved, it seems that these M.L.B.-trademarked Cardboard Buddies are the 2020 season’s true heroes.