On Thursday, the sports world celebrated the return of Major League Baseball with a double-header broadcast on ESPN. On Monday, two games were cancelled because of the coronavirus.
That’s how quickly things can change during a pandemic. There has been no word on whether or not the season will be suspended or postponed, but there are certainly no shortage of questions from those around the league and the fans watching from home.
The Miami Marlins took two games of a three game series against the Philadelphia Phillies with a win on Sunday, despite being short-handed because of players that had tested positive for coronavirus shortly before the season began. On Sunday it was only four players. The next day it was 14. They aren’t the only team in the league to have positive cases.
The Marlins cancelled their game with the Baltimore Orioles in the fallout. That same day, the Phillies cancelled their game with the New York Yankees because of the news from Marlins’ camp.
The MLB is in a fragile state now, having already postponed opening day from mid-May to the last week in July. How many cases will cause it to shutdown again and how many teams will forfeit games before that decision is made?
Meanwhile, the NBA is set to resume this week. Players, coaches, team staff, reporters and other gamely staff are in a bubble in Orlando. You have to be tested to enter, quarantine for a certain period once you’re in and then be regularly tested to be eligible to play.
A similar process worked for The Basketball Tournament (TBT) recently. There were no positive cases of coronavirus inside their bubble. The NBA has yet to have a positive case in its bubble.
Major League Soccer also returned with a bubble format, where all teams are located and play games in a closed-off area. Some teams withdrew from competition because some athletes reported positive cases.
It works because it’s isolated. There is too much travel associated with even an abbreviated baseball season. The National Football league could run into a similar issue later this fall.
Baseball was fun to watch for a week, but I’m not sure 60 games in 66 days is feasible, at least not if the teams aren’t moved to one designated location. The coronavirus is too much of a threat.