The coronavirus has changed so much of MLB’s season this year ... including the way managers argue with umpires.
During Sunday’s Cardinals vs. Pirates matchup, the first of likely several manager-umpire arguments of the season took place and yes, there were face masks and social distancing involved.
In the bottom of the third inning at Busch Stadium, home plate umpire Jordan Baker was seen arguing with one of the players sitting in the stands behind the Pirates dugout. New Pirates pitcher Derek Holland — who has yet to make his Pirates debut after being picked up by the team the beginning of the year when the Cubs decided not to keep him — was arguing a pitch with the umpire. Seconds later, Jordan ejected Holland.
That didn’t sit right with Pirates manager Derek Shelton.
Shelton hopped over the handrail to the stairs to the field from the dugout, pulling up his gaiter over his mouth and nose as he marched over to Jordan.
Jordan noticed Shelton advancing toward him and immediately reached into his pocket to reveal a medical-grade face mask and put it on as the two reached the six-feet-apart mark.
The pros of this: obviously following health and safety guidelines and preventing any potential spread of COVID-19 between the two during their mouth-spitting, heated run in.
The cons: no one can read lips anymore to see who’s saying what and going toe-to-toe literally is a thing of the past.
It’s almost like an invisible force field holding two people back from actually fighting when neither wants to, though both managers and umpires seem to always be ready to spew their anger at each other during any given game.
All for the personal space, but, maybe this will also lead to easier de-escalating situations, especially when the outside temperature seems unbearable.
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