MLB looks at fan-scanning software to single out mask violators in the stands

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Airspace System's software can detect if someone is wearing a mask or not, or wearing one improperly. In a trial run, it identified mask use with more than 80 percent accuracy. Pictured is New York Mets Dominic Smith

In-person spectator of Major League Baseball had better get used to smelling their own breath, because several teams are looking into imaging technology that zeroes in on fans who aren’t wearing masks in the stands.

Several teams are reportedly in talks with a California company whose technology can scan security footage for mask violators and even those who wear them improperly, with noses hanging out or by hanging them around their necks.

Along with myriad new regulations about gathering in public or even in private and maintaining distance from other human beings, it’s another way that the mysterious virus is turning the United States into a surveillance state where the Bill of Rights is severely limited.

It will be up to each individual team to decide how to deal with potential violators, and whether it’s workable to throw paying fans out of games.

The MLB has declined to say which teams are considering the technology or if it would be used on players as well as fans.

Games are currently being played in empty ballparks.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the MLB to delay the 2020 season by nearly four months. Since then, the Miami Marlins have reported at least 21 cases among players and staff. The St. Louis Cardinals, and Philadelphia Phillies have also confirmed multiple infections.

Though some players wear masks on the diamond, the league doesn’t require them to. Others have complained face coverings make it hard to breathe while playing. Several players are sitting out this season over coronavirus concerns.

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