The Philadelphia Phillies’ Didi Gregorius became the first player in the MLB to announce that he plans on wearing a mask during games in the 2020 season on Wednesday.
Gregorius, who has been classified as a “high-risk player” due to a kidney disease and could have opted out of this season and been paid, will instead just try to be extra careful while playing games and debut a new accessory that no one has ever seen before in a professional baseball game.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which postponed the MLB season from March until July, has forced many changes in the game for the upcoming season. No fans will be allowed in the stands, players will not be able to chew gum or sunflower seeds, and umpiers will wear face masks to protect themselves and players from potential spread of disease.
Major League Baseball won’t require players to wear masks on the field, but will have no rule against them doing so. It should be expected that Gregorius, an eight-year Big League veteran, won’t be the only player to choose to do so.
As Gregorius put it, “I can’t force a person to wear their mask, but it’s for everybody’s safety.”