Bubble Breakdown

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Rick Bowmer

The Houston Dash celebrate after winning their summer tournament in the first successful professional sports bubble.

Kennedy Jones, Staff Writer

With the return of sports, several leagues have sent their athletes to a single city to compete against each other while being closely monitored for COVID-19. This creates a “bubble” that ensures the safety of all players. But what sports organizations have opted out of playing in a bubble, and how is that choice affecting them?

The first successful bubble was created by the National Women’s Soccer League at the end of June. This month-long tournament in Utah was completed in mid July, and ended with every player leaving virus-free. Similarly, Major League soccer finished their comeback tournament in Orlando without a positive COVID test in their bubble.

Organizations like the NBA and NHL have also continued social distancing. Both leagues have started playoffs within their bubbles, and have had no positive cases. Sports epidemiologist Dr. Zachary Binney explains the efficiency of the professional bubbles, and how important they are.

“So far they have looked very intact and safe, and constant vigilance is going to be required to make sure they stay that way,” Binney said.

Although most professional sports teams are seeing success in their bubbles, Major League Baseball has chosen to not enforce the intense social distancing. This is proving to be problematic, as baseball teams are continuing to travel to different cities to play, causing some issues among the health of the players.

COVID-19 outbreaks occurred within both the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals, resulting in a two week delay of play for both teams. This led MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to question whether or not the season would even continue.

Manfred explains that the MLB season will go on despite the coronavirus outbreaks. Although the MLB considered going into bubbles in three different cities, the idea was dropped because many of the players were not on board with the concept.

“The mentality is that we want to get back as soon as we can, but it has to be realistic. It can’t be sitting in our hotel rooms, and just going from the field to the hotel room and not being able to do anything,” Los Angeles Angels outfielder, Mike Trout, said.

The MLB will still practice social distancing and follow CDC guidelines but it’s unknown if outbreaks will continue to happen because they’re not in a bubble. The other sports leagues who have chosen to be in a contained area will continue to have a season and hopefully finish with few to no cases.