In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the GHSA recently announced a series of rule modifications ahead of the 2021 baseball season.
Among the most notable changes made to the rules is the prohibition of sunflower seeds in the dugout and on the field. This, coupled with the prohibition of pitchers “licking fingers, touching any part of their hands to the mouth, or blowing into their hands prior to delivering a pitch” is an effort to limit the spread of fluids during games.
The official GHSA release noted that recent alterations to rules were “meant to decrease potential exposure to respiratory droplets” through various measures.
Other special considerations and rule modifications include: enforcement of social distancing in dugouts, mandatory sanitization of equipment, restriction of on-field celebration following home runs or runs scored, prohibition of sharing bottles or beverages and elimination of postgame handshakes.
The use of face masks or coverings are recommended by the GHSA, but will not be mandatory. Similarly, the GHSA recommends — but will not enforce — the usage of face shields on catching and batting helmets.
A complete list of the league’s considerations and modifications for the 2021 season can be see online at GHSA.net.
The earliest date for GHSA baseball teams to begin practice is Monday, Jan. 18. Clubs are permitted to play regular season games starting Monday, Feb. 15.