The Minnesota Twins are exercising extreme caution when it comes to interactions with fans amid the coronavirus outbreak, and the latest attempt to keep the team’s supporters relatively happy despite the self-imposed limitations involves handing out pre-autographed cards.
The Twins have instituted a policy limiting physical interactions between players and fans. On Wednesday ahead of a showdown with the Atlanta Braves at Hammond Stadium, Twins staffers were seen handing out “2020 Spring Training” autograph cards to young fans.
Restricted from signing, Twins are handing out autograph cards to fans at Hammond Stadium. 4-year-old Kirby Byron Hunt (no kidding) from Duncan, Okla., receives one before Wednesday’s game. Pregame blog and lineups:https://t.co/jk91GpyS2P pic.twitter.com/xfTr4R88Oj— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) March 11, 2020
Phil Miller of the Star Tribune reports that players sign a couple dozen preprinted autograph cards every morning.
Recent reporting suggests that Major League Baseball is presently contemplating moving games out of cities hardest hit by the coronavirus or playing the games in empty ballparks. As it stands for the Twins, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey indicated the ball club will continue to take directives from the league.
“It would be irresponsible not to be planning for different potential outcomes,” Falvey said, via the Star Tribune. “But at present, we don’t have any new plans or new ideas. We’ll continue to focus on what we’re doing here, and then they’ll give us some guidance as we go over the next week, I’d imagine.”
Twins players currently are conducting interviews with the media outside the clubhouse entrance and in the dugout. Even then, in accordance with recently instituted MLB policy, reporters are asked to stand between six and eight feet away from players during these interactions.
It goes without saying that the Twins, along with every other MLB team, are doing their best to maintain a critical connection with their fans despite the policies restricting interaction. Teams’ attempts to make the best out of an unfortunate situation may be ultimately frustrating for many fans — and perhaps even some players as well — but it’s arguably the right thing to do.