TAMPA — If you’re going to Steinbrenner Field Sunday — or pretty much any major league game for the near future — you’ll see a new feature above the dugouts: a large piece of plexiglass behind the netting.
The plexiglass is part of Major League Baseball’s health and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic to help limit the chances the disease has to spread.
The protocols call for a “buffer zone” between the field of play and fans in attendance.
The zone around the dugout must be at least 12 feet, measured from the front of the dugout roof closest to the field.
Without some form of protection, that would result in the elimination of the first 1-3 rows around the field, depending on the ballpark.
The plexiglass barrier will serve as a substitute for the buffer zone, provided it’s at least 6.5 feet tall and doesn’t have gaps through which respiratory droplets can travel.