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Elephant Rumblings: Oakland Coliseum preparing for MLB games amid coronavirus pandemic

MLB news roundup

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Oakland Athletics Summer Workouts Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

After nearly 10 months since we last watched the Oakland A’s in the 2019 Wild Card Game, baseball is returning to the Oakland Coliseum today. The A’s and Giants will play an exhibition game, followed by another in San Francisco on Tuesday, and then on Friday the A’s will host Opening Day of the regular season against the Angels.

However, while MLB is returning to action, it will look vastly different than ever before. Due to social distancing guidelines spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, fans won’t be allowed to attend games, and the players and staff present at the stadium will follow an extensive set of protocols including testing, sanitation, separation, and even limits on the amount of time they can spend there at all.

All of these changes have the Coliseum looking different than normal. With the seats empty, the A’s are filling them with cardboard cutouts of their fans, and the first batch was set up over the weekend.

Another notable alteration regards the dugouts, which will be restricted to only certain players during games to keep everyone spread out. Everyone else will have to sit somewhere else, and to that end the A’s set up tents in the stands for overflow seating, reports Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle. Have a look for yourself:

It’s not perfect, but at least the A’s get to use their own ballpark at all. The Washington Nationals almost didn’t get that chance, but they’ll stay in their stadium after figuring out a compromise on local health ordinances. The Blue Jays weren’t so fortunate, though, as the Canadian government denied them the chance to play in Toronto; one possible backup option is PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

The bleachers might be empty in Oakland, but at least the team can play there, and in front of their normal outfield signs and banners.

T-minus 12 hours until (practice) baseball is back!

A’s Coverage:

Best of AN:

Non-Baseball A’s Coverage:

MLB News, & Interest:

Summer Camp video

Enjoy some batting practice from Friday’s workout at the Coliseum!

And more, from Saturday!

As for Sunday, here’s Mark Canha hitting a homer in the team’s intrasquad game.

Best of A’s Twitter:

Details on the possible plan for Luzardo

Happy to hear Luzardo had no symptoms

A’s full opening rotation

Look out for Oakland’s catchers this year

Farewell to infielder Ryan Goins, released Sunday. We hardly knew ya.

Best of MLB Twitter:

That’s now 14 players who have opted out, though McHugh is the second who would have missed time to injury anyway

Another reason for McHugh to opt out

Kendall Graveman is back in the majors!

And Yonder found a new home!

Absolutely incredible comeback story (more info here)

Beautiful! Can we have an A’s version?