Opinion: The NBA shows us what the MLB has done wrong


The NBA is showing everyone how to provide a safe return to sports the right way. Photo / Forbes

Michael Pearce, Editor-In-Chief

There’s a professional sports team doing everything right, and there’s one doing everything in their power to make sure their season doesn’t work out.

The National Basketball Association (NBA), implemented a “bubble” in Orlando to protect their players from infection and ensure that the season and playoffs would be able to finish.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has ignored the massive success of the NBA bubble, and risked their players’ livelihoods in the process.

Not only did the MLB ignore the success of the bubble, they have had numerous instances with COVID-19 infection — and kept going anyway.

The Saint Louis Cardinals have not played a game since July 29. They have had 17 people in their organization test positive for COVID-19, and yet the MLB continues to proceed with their season. The Cardinals have had two series postponed due to their COVID-19 results.

A season, mind you, that was cut to 60 games because the MLB players association (MLBPA), MLB owners and Commissioner Rob Manfred couldn’t agree on how to properly reopen baseball. It has been misstep after misstep for the MLBPA and MLB owners, mainly the owners and Manfred.

Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, implemented the bubble with player safety as the top priority. He aimed to pay players fairly and gave them an option to opt out of the season if they didn’t want to risk contracting the virus.

The NBA has strict rules about leaving the campus, no guests are allowed and they constantly test everyone in the bubble. The MLB, on the other hand, is letting players travel freely and not monitoring their extra-curricular activities. Their irresponsibility and lack of preparation for a rebooted season is showing now more than ever.

The Cardinals aren’t the only team with COVID-19 issues. The Miami Marlins had an outbreak that left 21 members of the organization infected. Meanwhile, the NBA hasn’t had a case of COVID-19 in weeks.

One league had a clear, concise, plan. The other is flying by the seat of their pants, desperate to regain public interest in a sport that has long faded from the front of the casual sports fan’s mind.

The MLB has an issue, and it’s an issue they should have seen coming — had they not been so focused on the money and rushing their athletes back into competition.

There’s a fine line in professional sports that needs to be walked between treating athletes like human beings and also running a business in the best way possible. The NBA has shown they are capable of that, time and time again. It’s why they’re competing with football for the top sport in The United States and growing in worldwide popularity every year.

It’s much too late now for the MLB and Manfred to fix the season. There’s no way to properly quarantine every player, coach, front office member and media personality in a bubble with an already-reduced season.

Manfred needs to take a look at his direct competitor and see why they’ve been so successful, and not make the same mistake twice. If COVID-19 restrictions spill into Feb. 2021, the MLB needs to prepare and put thought into their plan — something they should have done many months ago.

It is a travesty for baseball fans and players that the MLB failed to provide them with a solid, shortened rebooted season.