In the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks affecting the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals clubhouses, Major League Baseball has adjusted its health and safety protocols for the 2020 season.
Players and staff must now wear face coverings at all times while in public on the road. Moreover, team members are banned from visiting bars and other places where large groups of people gather.
These are only a few precautionary measures the league has taken to prevent another COVID-19 outbreak from occurring to one of its clubs. Additional protocols could be added in the coming weeks as the regular season winds down.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, MLB is reportedly considering a bubble plan similar to that of the NHL with multiple hubs for the postseason:
Although a fully contained bubble similar to the NBA setup at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, would be difficult for MLB to replicate, a multicity format that replicates the NHL’s Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta, hubs has gained traction, sources said. Because of MLB’s expansion to 16 playoff teams, the league would need at least three hubs to complete its wild-card round before shrinking to a two-hub format for the division series. The league championship series and World Series could be held at one or two stadiums.
A bubble plan in Southern California was reportedly discussed for the regular season, but the league ultimately moved forward with allowing teams to play at their home stadiums — implementing a 60-game regional-based schedule to minimize travel.
The decision has been met with criticism, as most health experts believe a bubble is necessary for professional sports leagues to safely resume operations.
Roberts not worried about teams missing lengthy amount of games
While the Marlins have since returned to the field, the Cardinals are still waiting for clearance from the league after over a dozen players and staff members contracted the virus. “It’s a strange season,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“I still stand by the fact that since we are playing baseball, it’s a win. That’s obviously not including the Cardinals right now. I just think we’ve got to come to terms that whatever messaging, whatever baseball decides on what warrants qualifying for postseason, if it’s winning percentage or whatever, it is what it is.
“I just don’t think we can read too much into it, because again, we’re playing baseball. Fans are excited about it, players are excited. Ultimately, there’s going to be 16 teams playing in the postseason.
“The best team, the hottest team, should come out and prevail. I really don’t have thoughts on whether it’s 45 or 60 games played by the Cardinals.”
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