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Elephant Rumblings: MLB considering postseason bubble in October

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MLB news roundup

San Francisco Giants v Oakland Athletics
We could store the trophy in Oakland now, just to save everyone time later
Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

The NBA and NHL have seen early success in their efforts to avoid the coronavirus pandemic by isolating themselves within figurative bubbles at common locations. MLB might try the same thing for its postseason in October, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN.

Passan goes on to say there would need to be bubbles in multiple cities for the first couple rounds of the playoffs, with 16 teams making the tournament this year, but that it could be cut down to one location for the LCS round and World Series. Three regions are mentioned as the most obvious suggestions to host postseason bubbles: Southern California, Chicago, and New York.

Moving from news to analysis for a moment, this seems like a no-brainer to me. You can’t hold the LCS/WS in New York, because that arbitrarily gives home-field to the Yankees. In a sport that already has a reputation for East Coast Bias, the uproar over that gift would be nearly Astros-level, and the league should take this opportunity to not piss off their fans for the fifty-third time this year.

That leaves Chicago and Los Angeles, and that’s not even a question. Nobody in the history of anything has chosen to host their outdoor October event in the Midwest over sunny California, and there’s no reason to start now. On top of that, this is the opportunity for the league to finally give the Dodgers something to make up for being on the losing end of the Astros’ cheating scandal. Had a chance for a championship stolen from you in 2017? Here you go, you get to host the entire 2020 World Series, if you can make it again in a year when you’re a massive favorite.

Suggestion: First round (16 teams), three bubbles but everyone is shifted so nobody is at home (fair for everyone). Second round (8 teams), two bubbles (lose New York, which has the highest total virus cases per capita of the three), same rule about no home teams. LCS and World Series are in L.A. (or San Diego or Anaheim, close enough for Dodger fans to get there).

Whatever specifics they decide, this plan if finalized would be another encouraging sign that the league is beginning to take the pandemic more seriously after seeing early outbreaks on two teams (Marlins and Cardinals). Many other clubs experienced effects when their players were delayed by positive tests during intake screening (such as Jesús Luzardo), and losing someone to quarantine in the high-leverage moment of the postseason would devastate the already compromised competitive integrity of the 2020 campaign.

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Another encouraging sign of the league getting serious: The Cleveland Indians pulled star pitcher Mike Clevinger from his upcoming start after learning that he broke protocol by leaving the team hotel last weekend to go out, reports ESPN. Clevinger will have to quarantine for a few days and test negative twice before returning to the team.

The Indians previously sent home pitcher Zach Plesac, and it turns out the two were together that night when they left the hotel. Plesac has been dominant for his first few games this season, and Clevinger has been a top performer for years, so it’s notable to see a club stick to its rules even when it affects star players.

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