Sports fired up in full swing beginning at the end of last week again when MLB started their season on Thursday, and the WNBA regular season began on Saturday. The NBA is finishing up their exhibition games, and the NHL season is beginning this weekend. The MLS also is still going through their tournament as well.
That should mean excitement and a sense of security that things are getting back to normal right? Not hardly. MLB couldn’t make it one week before the wheels started to fall off. At least 14 members of the Miami Marlins tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, causing at least two games to be canceled in relation to the positive tests.
The MLB is not in a bubble like the NBA, WNBA, NHL and MLS are and it shows. Zero positive tests have emerged from those leagues in the bubble recently. Let me say that again, zero. It is almost as if the bubble works. MLB players are traveling to other teams home stadiums and back, and even though they aren’t playing in front of fans, they are still having to stay in hotels that may or may not have been cleaned to satisfaction and in visiting clubhouses where teams have just been.
It just doesn’t seem like this is going to pan out for MLB. There are already several players already out after contracting the virus and commissioner Rob Manfred basically brushed this latest incident with the Marlins under the rug because their testing numbers are still good. Really?
I saw something recently that really made me question this whole bringing sports back thing. “Sports are a luxury a society gets for handling a pandemic well, and it looks like we got a weekend of that luxury before things began to fall apart.”
That isn’t my quote, but it sure does sum up how I am feeling after the news broke. As a sports writer I want sports to happen, and I want them to happen normally and when they are supposed to be played, but as a human being I want the health and safety of those involved to be taken into consideration a lot more than it has been.
Let me put it another way. The bubble format that so many leagues are using works. It is proven to work. The protocols, the testing, the format and the thought that went into these bubbles shows how these leagues are taking care of their players. If you go outside of the bubble, you quarantine. It is really simple, and these leagues have done a great job with things thus far.
I don’t know, and I don’t claim to know why MLB decided to have their teams play in their home parks and have them travel regionally to play in opponents parks, but that seems to be the issue. The players also are not in a bubble that requires them to stay in a certain place like the other leagues and that means much more opportunity to contract the virus.
This issue also should be a wake up call for college football. Many conferences have already postponed their seasons or gone to a conference only schedule, but if things do not improve in the country soon with coronavirus numbers I do not see any way that college football can play for many reasons. It would be harder to isolate staff and players like the professional leagues, and there are over 350 Division 1 teams with close to 100 people combined on a team. Football is obviously the sport with the most contact, which means it has the highest chance of transmitting the virus. Teams around the country have already had issues with positive tests just in summer workouts. Now teams are preparing to return or have already returned for fall camps, and I guess we will just have to see what the final verdict is on that.
I know that the colleges, athletic departments and other professional leagues are all hurting for money because of the pandemic. I know that I want sports to write about daily and personally I want to watch them as much as I can, but you cannot keep trying to do these things when it is obvious that it is unsafe to do so. We as a society need to start to understand that this virus has consequences and one of them is that without combatting the virus, sports are one of those luxuries we will lose. The health and safety of everyone in this country and around the world is paramount and should be first.
Until next time.