Postseason bubble? MLB should do it

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Ever since the first week of the Major League Baseball season, my editor and good friend Steve Carp has had all of his baseball writers on alert. Why wouldn’t we be? Million-dollar spoiled brats apparently ignoring the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic.

I say that loosely, and don’t mean it personal toward every positive test we’ve read about. But I do mean what I say if it refers to anyone who has purposely turned his head at creating a bubble for himself.

There were unconfirmed reports of the Miami Marlins partying after an exhibition game in Atlanta. Other teams have contracted the virus somehow, someway. The cancellations have been alarming.

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They should serve as warnings. Cleveland pitcher Mike Clevinger didn’t get the message.

Per reports, he flew home with teammates Sunday despite knowing he had broken the club’s COVID-19 protocols by going out in Chicago with right-hander Zach Plesac. Another unconfirmed report — he did not admit he violated rules at a team meeting Sunday — but he’s always been an outspoken player and it wouldn’t be out of character.

I mean, Friday he tweeted a Pearl Jam lyric: “I knew all the rules, but the rules did not know me.”

It’s a million-dollar attitude with a cavalier tone.

Meanwhile, Plesac issued an apology on Sunday night to the organization and fans.

I know commissioner Rob Manfred has said he’s confident the sport can get through the regular season and postseason without being stopped by the coronavirus. But players like Clevinger should have the commish strongly considering a bubble-playoff format.

World TeamTennis just completed its three-week campaign in a West Virginia bubble. No positive tests.

The NHL officially started the postseason this week in a bubble. No positive tests. The NBA. The WNBA. They’re both doing fine in a highly volatile state when it comes to this virus, bubbly in Florida.

The latter two makes you wonder if baseball would have been fine in its Grapefruit and Cactus League states (Florida and Arizona), regardless of the positive tests reported, as long as they were in the bubble.

For me, a bubble approach makes perfect sense for the postseason, as it would minimize the risk of an outbreak situation once the postseason tournament’s schedule is underway. You wouldn’t compromise the integrity of the game, as we’ve already seen with dozens of regular-season games. And lest we forget, a normal postseason finished as the influenza season begins; this year it runs smack dab in the middle of it. Why double the risk with travel, and potential disruptive behavior — ahem, Clevinger — that could ruin the postseason?

Manfred faces an important decision, because remember, the league and players’ union agreed to an expanded postseason before the start of the regular season. Sixteen teams will be in the playoffs, including the first- and second-place finishers in each division. More teams, more players, more chances to contract something. Bubble up!

KBO’s a wrap

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, and before we get to my free picks this week, let’s talk Korean Baseball. Thank goodness insomniacs had something to pay attention to for a couple of months before things got going in the United States.

It was a fun run, and I enjoyed learning about some of the players and teams. Good to know there really is quality baseball outside of America. And oh by the way, I never heard of anyone in the KBO contracting coronavirus and shutting down games. But there were plenty of rainouts.

The last pick I gave you looked good until the rain came. So I’m going to go out a winner in Korea and call it a season. I close the campaign on an 18-10 run for +930 units, helping me finish the season 22-15 overall for +790 units.

As for MLB action, I went 1-2 last week, including a game I had Zack Greinke penciled in as the starter. He was pushed back a day. Nothing I can do about that, and my play on the Astros fell short. No worries, as I bounce back this week.

Thursday

Nationals at Mets: David Peterson is auditioning every time he steps on the mound. With Marcus Stroman opting out of the season, this start becomes even more important. METS

Padres at Dodgers: I expect quite a showdown between Chris Paddack and Clayton Kershaw. Imagine the rivalry-minded Friars getting a crack at Kershaw one game after he was hammered by the Giants. I’ll take a shot with Paddack. PADRES

Brewers at Cubs: Not a big fan of Yu Darvish, but like him here. He’ll be out to avenge a July 25 starts against the Brewers. He’s 1-2 in six career starts but sports a stingy 2.32 ERA against them. CUBS

Last week: 1-2

Season: 5-2

About the Author

W.G. Ramirez

W.G. Ramirez is a 32-year veteran covering sports in Southern Nevada, and resident of 46 years. He is a freelance reporter in Las Vegas and the Southern Nevada correspondent for The Associated Press.

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