Seattle Mariners try to keep fans in the game with streaming practices, virtual cheering and more

Seattle Mariners players and coaches are seen on the field at T-Mobile Park during a livestream of one of the team’s Summer Camp workouts. (YouTube screen grab)

If you’re going to root, root, root for Mariners in Seattle these days, you’re going to have to do it virtually as baseball has taken on a whole new look in the age of coronavirus.

Nearly four months after the pandemic forced Major League Baseball to shut down Spring Training, the Mariners are now conducting Summer Camp exercises at T-Mobile Park ahead of a shortened, 60-game season set to start on July 24.

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Fans can tune in to livestreams on the team’s YouTube channel to catch pre-season workouts. Two sessions air daily, from 9 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m.

On Wednesday morning, there was a view from the bullpen as well as video shot from behind home plate showing fielding drills. In the afternoon, the stream started with a center field view that showed players taking part in batting practice.

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It’s not exactly the same flavor fans get if they travel to Peoria, Ariz., to catch Spring Training. But the YouTube views do put you in the seats of T-Mobile Park, sort of, if you’re into having three hours of baseball practice playing on a separate screen while pretending to work from home.

While fans won’t be allowed to attend games in person (at least at the outset) due to ongoing safety concerns, the Mariners are encouraging supporters to virtually cheer on the team through a special promotion.

Fans are encouraged to record videos of themselves cheering, and the team says those clips will be seen and heard by players in the stadium “to bring our fans’ energy into the ballpark each game.”

The clips will also be shared by the Mariners across social media channels as the season gets going.

The Mariners have also been doing their part to spread a positive equipment message during camp — personal protective equipment, that is, as team personnel are shown in numerous tweeted images sporting face masks:

As for how all of this is going to look on the field once the season gets started, MLB laid out some of the specifics in this FAQ. Among the highlights:

  • Players, coaches and support staff will be tested for COVID-19 every other day during Summer Camp, the regular season and postseason.

  • Non-playing personnel must wear masks in the dugout and bullpen at all times.

  • Social distancing will be encouraged as much as possible both on the field and off. Players and other team personnel not participating in the game will be sitting in the stands, at least six feet apart.

  • No celebratory contact (high-fives, fist bumps, hugs, etc.).

  • No spitting or chewing of tobacco and/or sunflower seeds. Chewing gum is allowed.

  • A ball will be thrown out once it has been touched by multiple players.

  • Fights are strictly prohibited.

Seattle Mariners try to keep fans in the game with streaming practices, virtual cheering and more Seattle Mariners try to keep fans in the game with streaming practices, virtual cheering and more Reviewed by TechCO on 7/09/2020 Rating: 5

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