To bubble or not to bubble, that is the question.
And in the resumption of pro sports after the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the early answer appears to be bubble.
The Major League Baseball season began late last week and already seems in trouble after the Miami Marlins had at least 11 players and two coaches test positive for the virus, forcing the postponement of games Monday and Tuesday against the Baltimore Orioles.
MLB is doing sports in an old world sort of way, playing real home games and traveling via plane for road games.
The league is looking into the Marlins’ outbreak. League sources indicate it’s possible it came via a charter flight from Atlanta after the Marlins played an exhibition game there last week.
This doesn’t bode well for the NFL, which will also try to play old world style.
How about leagues playing new-world style?
The NBA unveiled its bubble-like campus to the 22 teams who were invited to finish the season in Orlando, Fla. nearly four weeks ago.
There have been no positive tests reported among the 346 players tested daily between July 13 and July 20.
The NBA has instituted stringent protocols for keeping those in the league safe and healthy during its exhibition season.
In addition to daily testing, team personnel are required each morning to measure and record their temperature, oxygen saturation levels and any irregular health symptoms in a cellphone app connected to the league.
Scanning a Disney wristband is required to enter facilities around the campus, and if a player leaves the bubble for an excused absence such as a family emergency, they must immediately quarantine when they return.
The Major League Soccer is Back Tournament hadn’t even started when 20 players from two teams tested positive.
The league’s quarantine bubble at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin resort looked like it wouldn’t even get off the ground.
That was two weeks ago. Since then, the league says it has performed 7,615 tests without a confirmed positive.
We’ll soon see if the new-world leagues can remain as successful and if MLB and NFL can survive outside the bubble.
NFL training camps begin in earnest this week.
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