On the same day that the Philadelphia Phillies confirmed a coronavirus outbreak among team members in Clearwater, Fla, and the Toronto Blue Jays shut facilities down due to one player showing COVID-19 symptoms, MLB may be revisiting plans adopted by Major League Soccer, the NBA, and the NHL.
Friday afternoon, Jared Diamond and Ben Cohen of the Wall Street Journal reported that MLB is reconsidering the notion of bubble sites where players and other team personnel would perform and live during a pandemic-shortened season:
This person familiar with baseball’s thinking said that MLB could look at Southern California as a potential site. The region has three MLB stadiums—Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Angel Stadium in Anaheim, and Petco Park in San Diego—as well as several colleges with quality ballparks. It’s still unclear whether the “bubble” plan will become serious enough for the league to broach with the union.
Earlier in the day, the Phillies confirmed five players and three staff members tested positive for COVID-19 this week. The Blue Jays fear at least one player may be positive heading into the weekend.
MLS clubs will report to the Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World for a 26-club tournament on or around June 24, with games beginning July 8. The NBA is targeting a July 30 restart date for its 22-team model to complete the 2019-20 season in Orlando. The NHL hasn't yet announced its two temporary hub cities for the 24-team format. NHL training camps begin July 10.
Previously, noteworthy MLB players such as Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, Los Angeles Angels slugger Mike Trout, Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, and Collin McHugh of the Boston Red Sox all publicly hit out at proposals that involved them and other union members quarantining away from family members for any amount of time just to finish a season.
However, those comments were all made before local and state governments eased shutdown guidelines and restrictions, and before coronavirus cases spiked throughout portions of the country.
On Thursday, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings mandated that individuals must wear masks or other face coverings while at public gatherings beginning on Saturday in locations such as Orlando because of a rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the area.
Additionally, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Clemson University were hit with multiple positive coronavirus tests on Friday. Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews, PGA Tour player Nick Watney, and an unnamed San Francisco 49ers player also all tested positive.