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D-backs CEO Derrick Hall supports Manfred’s new coronavirus protocols

(Arizona Sports Photo)

Arizona Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall said he “fully” supports the new coronavirus protocols put in place by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred after an outbreak of cases across the league over the first weeks of the season.

Hall told Arizona Sport’s Doug & Wolf on Thursday morning that while the new rules are strict, he doesn’t think it drastically alters much of what the D-backs have been doing.

In a six-page memo distributed to teams that was obtained by USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale and reported on Wednesday, revised measures were implemented.

Among these are:

  • Everyone is required to wear face coverings at all times when not playing on the field. This includes inside the dugout and coaches and umpires on the field.
  • Teams can only bring one staff member who is not essential to game play on road trips.
  • Staff and players cannot meet in hotel rooms and cannot gather in public hotel areas without permission from the team’s compliant officer. Teams are told to set up a large, private room with food, amenities and enough space to socially distance.
  • Road trips must have a minimum of four buses. Changes to seating allowances were also changed on buses and planes, and passengers are not allowed to leave their seats unless it’s to use the bathroom.
  • Anyone planning to leave the hotel must get permission from the compliance officer first.
  • At home, players and staff are not allowed to visit bars, lounges, malls or anywhere else that has large groups of people.

“I think it’s smart. It could be seen as draconian, but I see it as being very cautious,” Hall said. “If you’re not going to be in a strict bubble, you have to create as much of a bubble as you can.”

Hall said the D-backs are already doing some of these things, including limiting the number of non-essential staffers on road trips.

As for strict measures about where players are and aren’t allowed to go, he doesn’t think these rules are drastically different than what non-athletes are experiencing.

“I think it’s common sense,” Hall said. “I just think it’s the way most of us are living now anyway until we get to the end of this virus.”

While the protocols aren’t ideal, in a 60-game season, they won’t be in place for more than a few months, depending on the playoff fate of each team.

The Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals had 33 total members of their organizations test positive for the coronavirus, prompting Manfred to warn teams that the season could be canceled if cases continue to spread in that way.

Hall thinks these new measures are worth it if it will ensure they can get through the year.

“We’re all living that way anyway, it’s not as if we’re going out and going to bars,” he said. “We’re asking for a sacrifice just for this season. The season is short, we’re trying to get to the finish line, that’s the best way to do it.”

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