LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) – After four months of quarantining with his family at his home in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Mayfield High School graduate Doug Eddings is back in blue for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Opening Day 2020. Eddings will work Thursday night’s Giants-Dodgers game in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.
Eddings was last on a baseball field back in March when the MLB suspended all operations due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“To go home for the last three or four months — it was nice to be hunkered down with the family, but also pretty sad to see what was going on in the world and how this virus has affected the world,” said Eddings.
Eight crew chiefs and four other umpires have opted out of the 2020 season. The umpires who are deemed at risk — either for their age, health situation or other issues — and opted out will continue to get paid after a deal between MLB and its umpires was reached during the shutdown. It ensures that if even one regular-season game is played this season, the umpires are guaranteed 37.5% of their salaries.
While Eddings has his fair share of virus concerns, he feels comfortable working this season in empty ballparks.
“Major League Baseball has put something in place. I am being tested every other day,” said Eddings. “Today, I’m traveling to Los Angeles. We’re driving down and I’ve already done my tests and sent them in. Yes, there’s some concerns as far as your health and not wanting to get it [the virus], but what Major League Baseball has put in place is trying to make everyone feel safe.”
In addition to testing, umpires have been setup with manuals consisting of new policies and procedures to combat the virus. They effectively put Eddings and his colleagues in a bubble for the next three months.
“We’re trying to keep away from the public for the next 67-days because you just don’t know,” said Eddings. “You don’t want it to affect — or get it and have it affect other people. You try to do your best and stay away from things.”
Eddings will work upwards of 50 regular-season games this season and hopes to get the call for the postseason as well.