Philadelphia Phillies games are getting postponed left and right, making it increasingly obvious that the MLB should have used a “bubble” to play their games in.
Following a quite large COVID-19 outbreak in the Miami Marlins clubhouse, a simple reality is starting to emerge around baseball: the MLB should have implemented a bubble. The Philadelphia Phillies just had an entire series worth of games postponed, and in such a hectic season, that could really skew the way their 2020 campaign pans out.
For starters, trying to run a professional sports league in the middle of a pandemic is extremely difficult, I’m not going to pretend otherwise. Revenue is going to be down the drain across every single sports league in the country, and officials are making decisions for thousands of athletes and employees. There’s not one “solution” that will make everyone happy.
However, there are a few methods that are beginning to emerge as being more suitable than others.
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The NBA, led by commissioner Adam Silver, has implemented a league-wide “bubble” setup down in Disney World, Orlando. Approved players, coaches, and personnel were all tested prior to entering the bubble, and since arriving, no-one has been allowed to leave (barring an emergency).
Even if a player does leave for some sort of family incident, they are forced to enter a ten-day quarantine where they are tested regularly.
While we’ve only seen a handful of scrimmages played thus far, this set-up has worked out quite well for professional basketball. There have been no major outbreaks and life in the bubble looks pretty decent. They even have a “NBA barbershop” now.
The MLS has experienced similar results with their bubble setup as well. While they did have a few teams experience outbreaks, they simply sent them home and everyone else kept on playing games.
Less than a week into the MLB season, and results have not been as kind. Over a dozen Marlins players have tested positive, resulting in the postponement of multiple games for multiple teams. The entire Phillies clubhouse has been put in danger, which is quite concerning considering a player like Didi Gregorius is considered “high risk”.
I sympathize with the frustration entering a bubble could cause players. Being separated from friends and family members for potentially months sounds horrible. However, there are simply too many variables involved with professional sports to consider traveling from stadium to stadium a safe thing to do. It took less than three games for a major incident to occur in baseball.
While it might not be the most enjoyable, a bubble ensures the highest likelihood of the season finishing, and everyone getting their paychecks.
Considering how the MLB has looked early on, utilizing a bubble type format is something even the NFL should explore using at this point in time. Putting every single football player in one city sounds like a nightmare, but these are obviously crazy times we’re living through right now.