The unexpected issue MLB players might face if asked to wear surgical masks on the field

Rob Bradford
April 03, 2020 - 12:13 pm

They are playing baseball again in South Korea, albeit under somewhat different circumstances than normal.

So far, there have just been practice games but they are games, nonetheless. Games that are played in empty stadiums with many of the players wearing surgical masks, with an eye toward opening the regular season in early May.

It is a brief glimpse to what Major League Baseball might look like when and if it tries to return this season.

So, how would the MLB players acclimate themselves to such an environment? According to former Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly, there might some subtle adjustments and concerns that aren't really on the radar of those playing in Asia right now.

"What about the guys who like to chew tobacco during the game," Kelly said on the latest episode of the Bradfo Sho podcast's "Quarantined with the Kellys". "I know plenty of guys who are chewing tobacco. How are you going to spit? You're going to have to keep going up and down, you're going to be touching your mouth. It kind of defeats the purpose. ... I think if that was a thing where they said, 'We're going to let you play but there are going to be no fans and surgical masks I still think some people would say know because they want to do tobacco. They wouldn't even take full pay. They would be like, 'Nah, I'm good.'

So, if the players were given the option of coming back and playing but forced to wear the masks there would be a push back?

"Yeah, I think it would be a tough vote," Kelly added.

How about playing with no fans in the stands?

"It is going to happen and I don't like it," he said. "It's not going to be fun ... I think -- obviously people want  to be paid -- (a vote) would lean 60-40 people would say let's play."