After Taiwan, it looks like Korea will be the second country where the baseball season will take off. The KBO is planning to start the season early May but under strict rules to avoid corona infections as much as possible.
The league has unveiled a manual that points out how players and teams can deal with the schedule with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Since the number of new cases declines steadily, the KBO has scheduled twenty pre-season games, starting coming Tuesday through April 27. The announcement of the start of the upcoming season will be expected coming Tuesday as well. If the season starts early May, the 144-game schedule can still be kept.
To prevent infection during the upcoming preseason, all players and team officials must minimize contact with visitors from outside. Players will have their temperature checked twice before the start of each game. They also have to fill out daily health questionnaires on a special KBO app. Wearing masks in the clubhouse will be strongly recommended as it will in all areas of the ballparks but on the field and in the dugouts, masks will not be necessary. Handshakes and high-fives will be discouraged, spitting will be prohibited (so no chewing tobacco I guess…).
If some player shows COVID-19 symptoms during the preseason or regular season, he will be placed into quarantine. The stadium where he last played will be closed for at least two days as a result. If he will test positive for the virus, an epidemiologist will trace others the players had contact with and they will be ordered into two weeks of quarantine.
Masks and gloves will be required for umpires, who will be banned from having any physical contact with players, for front-office employees, trainers, interpreters, batboys, and video replay officials.
If one of the aforementioned persons is contaminated, the KBO will not cease the season immediately but will a meeting with team officials instead to explore the possibility, depending on the person’s contact with others in the league.
Source: Yonhap News Agency.