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The Extra Point

Sports bubbles working

Chris Siers
Posted 8/6/20

We’re nearly two weeks into a return to sports since the coronavirus pandemic began in March and it’s quite honestly been a bag of mixed results for the various leagues that have tried to begin a return to action. The MLB got off to a solid start during opening weekend, but has since showcased the flaws of not playing in a controlled “bubble” like the NBA and NHL have opted for...

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The Extra Point

Sports bubbles working

Posted

We’re nearly two weeks into a return to sports since the coronavirus pandemic began in March and it’s quite honestly been a bag of mixed results for the various leagues that have tried to begin a return to action.

The MLB got off to a solid start during opening weekend, but has since showcased the flaws of not playing in a controlled “bubble” like the NBA and NHL have opted for.

At the time of this publication, there have been a handful of outbreaks on teams that have led to quarantines and game postponements.

Miami was the first club to succumb to the virus, with over half of the roster testing positive.

Prior to the outbreak that landed 17 players in quarantine, it was reported that several players attended a party in Atlanta—not exactly the best game plan for trying to get sports going again amid an ongoing pandemic.

Since then, the St. Louis Cardinals have also been stricken by the virus, with six players testing positive, including catcher Yadier Molina.

It’s since been reported that several Cardinals had been spotted at a casino, where they possibly could have contracted the virus.

Because of the actions of these players, a total of 23 games have been rescheduled, either as outright nine-inning games or as part of seven-inning doubleheaders.

Now comparing the MLB’s approach to playing in the 30 franchise stadiums and continuing to travel with what the NHL and NBA have done really gives us a glimpse of what we may have to look forward to as society attempts to navigate its way through the thick of this crisis.

The NHL has opted to continue the 2019-2020 season in two hub cities, Toronto and Edmondton.

When players returned to camp to condition for a return to play, the league mandated players remain in isolation and not venture out into the public.

Doing so has allowed the league to strictly enforce the isolation guidelines for a return to play.

During the weeks leading up to the first puck drop, all of two players tested positive and in the week since the first exhibition games were played, there have been no postponements or rescheduled games due to positive tests.

The NBA has also seen similar results with its own bubble.

Before the NBA proceeds with the playoffs, the league is concluding the 2019-2020 regular season.

Players were to report to the Wild World of Sports located at Disney World.

Upon arriving, players were issued an electronic ring designed to track players locations and possible exposures to the virus.

Earlier this week, the NBA announced that no players had tested positive for the third consecutive week.

While the MLB, NHL and NBA all have their fans and place in society, the bulk of the sports world is sitting on pins and needles waiting to see what happens to football.

How can the NCAA and NFL learn from the successes of the NBA and NHL and the failures of the MLB?

The good news is, there seems to be an overwhelming notion that players want to play and are willing to do what’s necessary to ensure the safest possible team environment in a contact-heavy environment.

Players like San Francisco’s Raheem Mostert are taking the extra step to ensure his return to play is the safest possible.

In lieu of opting out of the season, Mostert will be isolating himself from his young son, his wife and his second son, who is on the way.

It’s this level of dedication to maintaining isolation that will allow sports—even the most contact heavy like football—to play the season.

Regardless of what the future months look like on the sports front, it appears, at least for the time being, that we have sports...at least for the near future.

• Chris Siers is sports editor for the Times-Gazette. Email him at sports@t-g.com.

Chris Siers is sports editor of the Times-Gazette.

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