If the Giants continue trending this way, they would be able to see what their manager looks like.
Gabe Kapler said the club is heading toward the vaccination benchmark that would allow some of the protocols to be relaxed this season. If 85 percent of a team’s Tier 1 individuals — the traveling party — are fully vaccinated, then the team is not mandated to wear masks in dugouts, among several other allowances.
“I have a feel that that’s coming,” the manager said before the Giants opened a series with the Reds at Oracle Park on Monday. “I don’t have an exact date for you, but I can tell you that we’re definitely trending in that direction and we’re definitely taking steps every day.”
Kapler has been vaccinated, and several Giants have been open publicly with their decisions to get the shots that should ward off the coronavirus. Evan Longoria missed Friday’s game while dealing with side effects from his Johnson & Johnson shot.
Hitting 85 percent as a traveling party would mean use of the team’s saunas and steam rooms and the individuals being allowed to dine at restaurants. Family members who are fully vaccinated would be able to stay with players in hotel rooms, a perk that has been denied; Alex Dickerson recently expressed a bit of frustration at not being able to stay with his wife while in San Diego.
A few teams already have hit the target percentage, including the Cardinals and Angels.
For Kapler, who has been diligent about wearing a mask at all times, he is looking forward to being able to remove it for conversations, calling that notion a “pretty big carrot.” He wants to be able to see facial expressions again, smiles hidden by masks.
“It’s always kind of uncomfortable when we’re sitting around in a room, and we’re talking about baseball, and we just can’t see each other’s expressions,” Kapler said over Zoom. “So I think it’s going to be a really nice day, let’s put it like that. It’s going to cheer everybody up when we’re in our own clubhouse, in our own space, and we’re able to pull our masks down.”