NEW YORK, NY — Major League Baseball (MLB) is set to return for a shortened 60 game season, but it will look very different. Players and owners finalized COVID-19 health and safety guidelines this past week with players set to report for another version of “spring” training on July 1, and the regular season will start either July 23 or 24, the league announced.
The return to play comes with an ambitious plan that includes rigorous rules intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Rules that limit some activities that have historically been common in baseball such as spitting sunflower seeds and chewing gum. These rules will also include social distancing in the club house and in the dugout. The biggest rule change that players are going to have difficulties adjusting to is the new social distancing ass slap rule.
“Players are still allowed to slap one another on the ass,” explained MLB representative Ebby LaLoosh. “The ass slap is a time-honored tradition that will always be part of the game, but for this shortened season, the ass slap will look a little different.
LaLoos is referring to the new MLB social distancing ass slap rule where each player will be issued their own ass slapping stick. At the end of the stick will be a mold of each player’s hand with a batting glove on top of it to simulate the full hand-on-ass slap feeling.
“We are very excited that we can keep this integral part of the game intact while keeping players safe,” LaLoosh continued. “Many people come to the ballpark just to watch the ass slapping.”
Players have also expressed excitement to use the ass slap stick.
“I pride myself on my ass slapping game,” commented Astros utility infielder Rod Rodriguez. “With these [ass slapping sticks], I can really get some speed and power behind my ass slap and do some damage on some asses.”
Currently Louisville Slugger is contracted to make the ass slap sticks created for each player’s specifications. Much like a baseball bat, the league is imposing weight and length restrictions on the pole as well with a minimum 60 inch length and 32 ounce weight. Pine tar is allowed on the ass slap sticks.
“I really think these will catch on and reinvent the ass slapping part of the game,” LaLoosh added. “I can see kids all across America buying ass slap sticks signed by their favorite players and playing ass slap on the sandlots again.”
Reporter Dr. Jonathan H. Dong contributed to this article.