Major League Baseball has informed the Baseball Writers Association of America that it is planning to reopen pre-game and post-game clubhouse access to credentialed media, reports Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post (Twitter link). Notably, that course of action still remains subject to approval by the MLB Players Association.
MLB hasn’t afforded clubhouse access to credentialed media in either of the past two seasons on account of COVID-19 concerns. Clubhouse access was suspended in March 2020, with reporters generally limited to conducting interviews via phone or video chat that year. Fully-vaccinated members of the BBWAA were permitted to again meet with players and coaches on the field midway through the 2021 season, but they were not allowed entrance into the clubhouse. Tom Haudricourt tweets that clubhouse access in 2022 and beyond, if approved by the union, is likely to again encompass vaccination and masking requirements.
If the MLBPA signs off, the return of clubhouse access figures to be a welcome development for reporters. Expanding individual access to players and avoiding possible technological difficulties associated with speaking over video chat are among the potential benefits for reporters speaking with players and staff for stories. Shortly after MLB first suspended clubhouse access, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote about the advantages he felt clubhouse access afforded reporters, which he opined has a trickle-down benefit for fans consuming their stories.