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Return to Play

Major League Baseball is excited about the return of PITCH, HIT & RUN™, presented by the MLB Network, to our local communities in 2021. The safety of participants in community youth sports is of paramount importance, so we ask that all local site hosts review the below recommendations to assist in the return of safe play.

While the following recommendations are designed to assist in the return of PITCH, HIT & RUN™ to your community, they in no way supersede CDC recommendations or your respective state and local government regulations on reopening, public gatherings, and the return to organized sport. Please ensure your operation of this event is conducted within the framework of your local community and implemented in accordance with your state and local restrictions.

Pre-Registration & Health Assessment

Digital Registration:

· All host sites will receive a participant registration site.

· All host sites are asked to pre-register participants via the digital registration link.

· No in-person, on-site paper registration will be permitted.

Health and Safety Assessment:

· Prior to arrival, all staff/volunteers, participants, and spectators should ensure that they do not have a fever of 100.4°F or are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

· If possible, consider the on-site checking of temperatures for all staff/volunteers and participants prior to engaging in group activity.

· Any individual who has a temperature of 100.4°F or exhibits any COVID-19 symptom should not participate in group activity and should be sent home immediately.

· If there is a report of a positive case of COVID-19 from within your organization, notify others who may have been in close contact with the individual of their potential exposure and potential need for quarantine or additional medical attention.

Use of Personal Protective Equipment:

· Cloth face coverings and personal protective equipment (“PPE”) should be worn consistent with CDC, state, and local guidance.

· All participating individuals (staff/volunteers and participants) should wear a face mask or a face covering while not actively competing.

· Staff/volunteers should wear a face mask or a face covering at all times, including on the field and in the dugout.

· Players should not be required to wear a face mask or face covering while actively competing in event, but may do so if they prefer, is requested by a medical professional or parent, or is required by local ordinance.

Event Safety & Operation

Event Setup:

· The competition should be held outside.

· Limit the number of adult employees/volunteers by only using the essential number of on-field personnel.

· Make every effort to reduce the density of individuals by establishing designated times and locations for arrivals and departures. Consider staggering arrival and dismissal times for different groups.

· Adjust the event format and increase the amount of time between groups/participants to limit overlap.

· Increase the availability of handwashing and/or hand-sanitizing stations at the competition site. Hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes/spray should be available at each station.

Competition Set-Up:

· Utilize the entire field/outdoor area and spread the PITCH, HIT and RUN stations out. For instance, PITCH can be done in the LEFT field corner, HIT can be done in the RIGHT field corner, and RUN can be done on the infield.

· PITCH: One participant should compete at a time. If a participant does not provide their own ball(s), one volunteer places the balls at the PITCH line and then steps away to judge the participant's PITCH attempts.

· HIT: One batter should be at the batting tee at a time and with another warming up (dry-swings) at a safe distance away. Participants should be directed to adjust batting tee if necessary. If a participant does not provide their own ball(s), one volunteer should place a ball on the batting tee and step away. Other volunteers should spread out at a safe distance in the outfield to measure/mark the batted balls.

· RUN: One runner should compete at a time. Volunteer/timer should maintain a safe distance from the participant. It is recommended that each participant leave the event area once they have finished competing.

· When utilizing participant scorecards, please limit the number of scorecard exchanges between volunteers and participants.

· Event organizers should recognize winners once all participants have competed, possibly on a later date and/or digitally.

Participant Safety:

· Players and on-field staff/volunteers should practice physical distancing to the extent possible.

· Attempt physical distancing in the dugout if space allows. Consider spreading out to seating outside the dugout, to a feasible extent.

· Players and on-field personnel should make all efforts to avoid touching their face with their hands, wiping away sweat with their hand, licking their fingers, whistling with their fingers, etc.

· Avoid physical interactions (i.e., high-fives, fist bumps, hugs, handshakes) with participants and personnel.

· Sunflower seeds, bubble gum, and spitting are prohibited.

Equipment:

· If possible, equipment (glove, bat, batter’s helmet, batting gloves) should not be shared between participants.

· To the extent that equipment needs to be shared, establish protocols for when and how equipment will be cleaned and disinfected in between uses. Consider disinfecting communal equipment (e.g., bats, batting tees) regularly throughout the event.

· Request that parents/guardians clean and disinfect any personal equipment before and after the event.

· Players and other on-field personnel should wash or sanitize their hands throughout the event and after the handling of equipment.

· Eliminate the touching of the face (eyes, nose and mouth) when handling shared equipment and the ball.

· Consider limiting the continued use of baseball and softballs without cleaning. Balls should be cleaned throughout an activity or rotated out on a regular basis.

Food and Drink:

· Prohibit the use of communal water and sport drink coolers/jugs and use individualized water or sport drink bottles instead.

· Avoid sharing cups, water bottles, food/snacks, and limit all food and drink products to individualized items.

· Like equipment, individual food and drink containers should be sanitized at home after use.

Spectators:

· Along with adhering to state and local ordinances on group gatherings, you should also make every attempt to prevent overcrowding and gatherings with a high density of people and to allow for enhanced physical distancing, where possible. Consider limiting the number of spectators allowed per participant.

· Create one-way entry and exits to direct foot traffic.

· Make efforts to reduce the density of parents, guardians, and spectators on site by setting arrival times prior to games and events.

· Encourage spectators to utilize a face mask or face covering while on site.

· Consider limiting or spacing seating in stands and around playing sites to promote physical distancing.

Reminders to Provide Registrants Prior to Event

· Pre-registration online is required.

· Any person with a fever of 100.4°F or who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend or participate in the competition.

· Event participants and spectators must follow all posted and published local and state guidelines.

· All attendees are encouraged to practice social distancing.

· Face masks or face coverings are required for all staff/volunteers, players (while not participating in competition), and spectators.

· If possible, participants should bring their own personal equipment (i.e., balls, glove, bat, water bottle).

· If possible, participant guardians should bring hand sanitizer for their participant to use and antibacterial wipes to sanitize personal equipment before and after the competition.

· Communicate your organization’s plan to encourage social distancing both prior to your competition and during the event.

· Add any additional protocol set forth by your organization and/or event site.