Don't spit, don't high-five; what can baseball players do?

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo, left, and teammate Kris Bryant high-five after scoring against the Seattle Mariners last season at Wrigley Field. Bryant has acknowledged that it's tough to adjust with some of the new regulations put in place due to COVID-19.

    Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo, left, and teammate Kris Bryant high-five after scoring against the Seattle Mariners last season at Wrigley Field. Bryant has acknowledged that it's tough to adjust with some of the new regulations put in place due to COVID-19. AP File Photo

 
 
Updated 7/12/2020 5:52 PM

Baseball is already in uncharted territory with a 60-game season starting in late July with no fans in the stands.

Several Cubs talked about what it will be like dealing with other safety-minded protocols, like no spitting and no high-fives -- two staples of baseball life.

 

"Very tough because we're creatures of habit," Kris Bryant said. "Guys chew sunflower seeds and they're spitting all the time. I lick my fingers before I throw a baseball. It's been hard. I've been putting pine tar all over my glove just to get a grip. You've got to change your ways a little bit and try to establish new routines."

Baseball celebrations seemed to get more elaborate in recent years, which makes the timing especially difficult.

"You're used to giving someone a pat on the back, a pat on butt, whatever it is, and high-fiving every time you do something good," Kyle Schwarber said. "Now you're trying to respect everyone. We're going to be setting examples for the country as well on expectations."

Reliever Craig Kimbrel, who is typically on the mound when a game ends, offered a few alternatives,

"Maybe we all need to have (latex) gloves in our back pocket or something," he said. "We can pull them out and put them on, high-five and put them back. Maybe we'll do something with our feet. If we're not doing high-fives, maybe we're doing foot taps or something, I don't know."

Schwarber tried to keep the complaints in perspective. At least the season is back on -- for now, anyway.

"It's just great to be back with everyone, I think that's the biggest thing," he said. "Everyone's excited to be back, getting back to that grind. I think that's overriding all this other stuff that makes it weird."

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Bryant even found a silver lining to playing in an empty stadium.

"The balls you hit, they sound louder," Bryant said. "The pitchers, they can actually hear how hard they're throwing. It's been interesting,"

This and that:

The Cubs recently added infielder Hernan Perez to their roster. The eight-year veteran spent the past five season with Milwaukee. ... The Cubs' secondary camp is open in South Bend, Ind. GM Jed Hoyer said eventually they expect to have more players in South Bend than at Wrigley Field.

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