Spare Parts: The boys in the bubble

With the White Sox looking good for one of the eight American League postseason spots, the question isn’t matter of if, but where. At least if they make it past the first opening round.

The first best-of-three will be played at the home park of the higher seed, which seems like a suitable incentive for winning more, with beggars-can’t-be-choosers for the road squads. Normally the fifth team in would face a one-and-done scenario, so even that club in a standard season is coming out ahead.

After that, Major League Baseball appears close to settling on a neutral-site bubble format, which was originally reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan. American League teams would head to San Diego and Los Angeles, while the National League contenders will spend their time in Houston and Arlington. San Diego and Arlington would host the championship series, with the new Globe Life Field taking the Series.

The MLBPA is objecting to the hard bubble, and sure, most teams enjoyed success without one. The Marlins and Cardinals are points to the contrary, but teams made adjustments to the protocol after those outbreaks with no complications since. A strict bubble means that families would either be inside a restricted area for upwards of month, or separated from the players for that kind of duration.

The league really, really, really doesn’t want an outbreak to interrupt the super-lucrative scheduled postseason, and it’s easy to imagine every non-player in America slagging the sport for pressing its luck if COVID-19 flared up in a clubhouse during the NLDS or later. The San Francisco Giants provided a scare on Friday, although the player who tested positive on Friday tested negative since, which could allow their series with the Padres to resume on Sunday.

A regular-season bubble always seemed unfeasible, and I imagine players have a lot of details to iron out when it comes to protecting its members from complications of even a limited one (league-minimum renters facing indeterminate stays, for example). But however far the White Sox go, I imagine their hopes of bringing October baseball to the South Side rest on a higher seed.

Spare Parts

You might have seen Jason Benetti and Steve Stone talk about Jayson Stark’s story about Richard Dotson’s biological father, but here it is. Through DNA testing, Dotson discovered that his father was Turk Farrell, who won 106 games over 14 years in the National League from 1956 through 1969.

Then, a month or so later, Kos got her test results back. They revealed the name of a “Richard Dotson” who not only was a first cousin, but had a closer DNA match than any other cousin. She immediately knew what that meant, and began researching who this Richard Dotson was.

“Are you the former White Sox pitcher?” she messaged him. “If so, there are striking similarities.”

While the nationwide nature of the challenges of 2020 have basically leveled the fan experience across the country, the Washington Nationals fan base might be suffering more than most. Their World Series-winning club never got their ceremonial banner-raising or ring-dispensing celebrations, and the next time fans can see them live, numerous key players won’t be there.

While Dallas Keuchel is on the injured list due to back spasms, the White Sox’s Plan A for that rotation spot is battling his own malady, and a more embarrassing one at that.

“Just one of those stupid things,” he said Friday. “I tripped a little bit, I lost my balance, and my jeans yanked out of my hand.”

The White Sox aren’t the only team leading a division while dealing with an evaporation of their pitching depth. The Braves entered the season with eight starting pitching candidates, and they’ve combined for a total of 1.2 WAR. That’s with Max Fried contributing 1.8 WAR to the cause, and he’s on the injured list.

(Photo by Michael Barera)

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Why are all the bubbles in Texas and Cali?

LuBob DuRob

Two MLB-level stadiums and weather/roof?


Also two stadiums in close proximity from the same league, so NL teams can play in AL stadiums and AL teams can play in NL stadiums, without having to worry about a team having home field advantage at a neutral site.