Major League Baseball has learned its lesson. The hard way, of course – historically, that’s generally the only way MLB ever learns anything. This is not only the case with this league, we can say that a majority of organizations, leagues, and even people learn their lesson the hard way and not without any kind of consequences.
The first North American professional sports leagues to return to action from the COVID-19 pandemic pause were the MLS, NBA, and NHL. Each opted to perform inside a bubble – a controlled environment in which players were separated from friends, family, and the general public, quarantined indoors when not playing, and tested for COVID-19 on a daily basis. We can see that the best in the example of the NBA league, which managed to achieve a significant level of protection from the virus that changed our lives in a couple of months.
In each case, it’s worked. The NHL is nearing its Stanley Cup final and not a single participant has tested positive for COVID-19. The NBA is down to its final four and likewise, has not recorded a single case of the novel coronavirus among its players. So, you can see that there are some things that can be pointed out as positive results of these measures that were decided to implement.
Were these situations optimal? No, of course not. Players still playing have been apart from loved ones for months. That being said, this format was the only way completing the season was going to be achieved. But, it’s needless to say that all these players are under a contract and there is not much that can be done about this situation. Of course, we can see that there are a lot of things that were pointed out as bad influences during finishing the league after the cancellation of the coronavirus lockdown.
Baseball, of course, didn’t see it that way. The owners suggested a quarantine, with thoughts of setting up several bubbles in different locales. The players immediately objected – the MLBPA is as stubborn and as pigheaded a bunch as the team owners. The whole season came perilously close to being scuttled. Thankfully, we can see that some of the conversations between the league directors and franchise owners will produce some of the positive effects. One of them being finishing the league while playing under the bubble.
Due to the postponement of the season, we can see that many online sportsbooks had a problem with having something to offer to their customers. Therefore, this league wasn’t the only thing affected by its postponement. A lot of different industries were on hold, especially in the case of the gambling industry. More precisely, the sports betting branch of the industry.
Just about every online sportsbook, like MyTopSportsBooks.com, thought than the season wouldn’t be played. Is it possible to root against both sides in a dispute?
MLB Fought COVID And COVID Won
Baseball decided to go ahead with as close to business as usual as they dared. The season was shortened from 162 to 60 games. The play was limited to divisional opponents and crossover meetings with the closest geographic rivals. The AL East teams played the NL East teams, for example. This was one of the first precautions that were made after it was official that the coronavirus lockdown is coming to the United States.
But now, since the pandemic has ended you can follow your favorite team’s schedule (say, the Dodgers schedule) and get tickets to a game to be there for all the excitement.
Teams still traveled from city to city. They didn’t choose to self-isolate when not at the ballpark. The Toronto Blue Jays were forced to play home games in Buffalo when the Canadian government refused to allow MLB players to enter the country without first self-isolating for 14 days. Naturally, all of these elements had a negative influence over the league and playoffs. It goes without saying that taking this kind of precaution was an absolute must. But that doesn’t mean that the league needs to like them.
It took about a week into the season for the first outbreak of COVID-19 to develop within a team. The Miami Marlins were the first to be stricken, with about half the team testing positive. The St. Louis Cardinals also endured a significant outbreak. The Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, and Oakland Athletics also had staff come down with the virus during the season.
In total, MLB has been forced to postpone 43 games on the schedule due to positive COVID-19 cases. This is the same thing that happened in a plethora of other leagues from every corner of the world and in many different sports, like soccer, basketball, tennis, etc.
Somehow, though, they are getting through the season. And, after so many cases of COVID around the ballparks, MLB no longer needed to make a case for the bubble idea in order to contest the playoffs. The decision was, thankfully, made.
Everyone now agrees that’s the only way to go.
The first round of postseason play will be best-of-three series and all the games will be played at the ballpark of the higher-seeded team. After that, the remaining teams will enter bubbles until the postseason schedule is completed.
“The elimination of travel is obviously a positive because it cuts exposure,” baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Less interaction outside with the group that you’re looking to protect is a huge positive. It’s all about what the risk of interacting with the community is.”
The AL Division Series is going to be hosted at San Diego’s Petco Park and Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium. Also, we can see that the NL Division Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Tex. and Houston’s Minute Maid Park.
The American League Championship Series will be hosted at Petco Park and the NLCS at Globe Life.
The World Series will be hosted on Globe Life, a mobile roof arena with a non-natural lawn that was open this year together with the Rangers’ old ballpark.
All contending teams will be moved into hotels for the final week of the regular season to begin the quarantine process. Family members will be permitted to join the players inside the bubble if they also quarantine for seven days prior to entry.
Once inside the bubble, players will be tested daily for COVID-19.
MLB will assess the situation close to the dates to determine whether a small percentage of spectators might be permitted to attend the games.
The Bottom Line
We can see that a lot of industries struggle to produce the best possible quality and spend the least amount of resources as possible during this global pandemic. There are no reasons why it should be different for any kind of sport. Therefore, we can see that a lot of measures have been introduced in order to ensure the highest level of prevention from players and members of the coaching staff being infected with COVID-19.
This is the main reason all the top leagues within the country have decided to create some kind of bubble where all the players and staff will be put inside the quarantine before the league is over. We can see that these measures have produced some positive results. There are almost no infected players or members of staff. So, the decision was made that MLB will follow in the footsteps of the NBA and NHL. We can expect that the playoffs will be completed without too many problems in the next couple of weeks.