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.
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.
- Passan: A’s outfielder Ramon Laureano says vile remark by Astros hitting coach spurred brawl
- Slusser: Brawl fallout: A’s worry about losing Laureano, want Astros’ Alex Cintrón disciplined ($)
- Slusser: A’s starter Frankie Montas named AL Player of the Week ($)
- Gallegos: Montas on honor; Smith turns heads
- Hickey: Melvin calls Smith `an Absolute Godsend’ to Athletics Bullpen in the Early Going
- Seamheads podcast: Guest is Bay Area Sports Guy
- Hall: Ramon Laureano: ‘I regret charging him because he’s a loser’
- Hall: A’s sweep Astros: Schadenfreude recap
- Hall: Frankie Montas named AL Player of the Week
- A’s Series Preview #6: Angels host rematch
- Game #17: A’s blow big lead, lose 10-9 slugfest to Angels
MLB News & Interest
- Passan: MLB has preliminary talks about bubble-type format for playoffs
- ESPN: Indians’ Mike Clevinger to miss start after violating protocol
- Adams: Rangers Sign Derek Dietrich
- Today in Baseball History
Yesterday’s Game Highlights
Monday: Loss! But still a fun, wild game. And 6 RBI for Chappy.
Bassitt speaks on Astros
The league needs to take this seriously. This isn’t an A’s issue. Twenty-eight other teams feel the same way.
Best of Twitter
Cool story bro
For those faulting Aldrete for inaction
Laureano said 1B coach Mike Aldrete had no inkling he might run toward the dugout, so bears zero responsibility for the fracas. "When do you see someone charging the other team's dugout? He wasn't expecting anything."— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) August 10, 2020
New high score? Is that bad? What does that mean, did I break it?
Matt Chapman is the first A's player with at least 2 HR and a triple in a game since Mitchell Paige on Aug. 29, 1977.— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) August 11, 2020
He's just the 8th player in franchise history to do it, on a list that includes 1958 Roger Maris and 1933 Jimmie Foxx, too.
Chapman is a national treasure
Chapman on interactions with Trout and Pujols: “Trout was like, ‘Wow. You’re just having a game aren’t you?’ I started off the game hot but they got the last laugh. Pujols was like, ‘Why you always taking RBIs and runs from me?’ I said, ‘I figured you already had enough.”— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) August 11, 2020
Three former A’s on the list!
Which pitchers in the KBO are allowing the least hard contact?— Sports Info Solutions (@SportsInfo_SIS) August 10, 2020
1. Aaron Brooks
2. Dan Straily
3. Drew Gagnon
4. Ki-young Im
5. Shi-hwan Jang
6. Jong-hoo Park
7. Chae-heung Choi
8. Odrisamer Despaigne
9. Chang-mo Koo
10. Raul Alcantara
He’s still only 30!?!
The Pittsburgh Pirates are in agreement with free-agent pitcher Henderson Alvarez, pending physical, according to sources. Alvarez had been pitching for the Milwaukee Milkmen.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) August 9, 2020
Super Bowl LVI — Dustin Garneau vs. Kyler Murray
You gotta admit: Dustin Garneau is a better open-field tackler than half the DBs in the NFL.— Joe Stiglich (@Joe_Stiglich) August 10, 2020