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Report: MLB discussing bubble format for playoffs

Report: MLB discussing bubble format for playoffs

In response to the coronavirus outbreaks within the Marlins and Cardinals lockers rooms, Major League Baseball reportedly began discussing a bubble format for the postseason.

So far this season and presumably for the rest of the regular season schedule, players and coaches are responsible for practicing social distancing guidelines and staying healthy when they leave the ballpark.

In the NBA and NHL bubbles, nobody is allowed in or out of the campus unless given permission. If they come back, they have to quarantine for a set number of days depending on their activity outside the bubble.

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MLB's method has led to several logistical complications as well as put several players at risk of contracting COVID-19, while the NBA and NHL have yet to report any new cases. If there's an outbreak in the postseason, it'll be infinitely more difficult to stick to schedule and conclude the season by November 1. 

As ESPN's Jeff Passan reports, the league would likely need three hub cities to host the expanded playoff field (16 teams) for the Wild Card round and shrink to two hubs in the Divisional Series. Chicago, New York, Southern California are leading options at the moment, per Passan's story.

The bubble format isn't easily executed, as it took months for the NBA and NHL to set up their hubs in Orlando, Edmonton and Toronto respectively. The good news for baseball fans is that these discussions seem to be going down with enough time before September 27 to put a plan in motion. 

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Report: John Wall, Bradley Beal consistently in team meetings despite being outside NBA bubble

Report: John Wall, Bradley Beal consistently in team meetings despite being outside NBA bubble

As the Wizards continue through the rest of their NBA restart schedule without their three best players, Bradley Beal, John Wall and Davis Bertans' presence are still felt within the team. 

According to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, the Wizards set up live streaming links to practices and meetings for players and staff not with them in the bubble. Wall and Beal have been watching practices daily and are still participating in team meetings. Bertans has also been active during these team events.

Haynes' story also includes that if Beal misses a practice or meeting, he'll FaceTime Washington general manager Tommy Sheppard to catch up on what he missed. And as we know, when Beal isn't helping his teammates before and after games, he's coaching them on Twitter during.

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Wizards fans have to feel good learning that their team's franchise players are still plugged in even though they aren't playing. It'd be hard to blame them if Wall and Beal took a back seat and focused solely on their preparation for next season. 

But these are two veterans who understand the importance of a supporting cast and what developing young players can do for a franchise's championship window. They're making themselves available and visible so that when this team faces adversity next season, it'll be easier for all the players to come together. 

Washington's playoff hopes are slim as they trail the Nets by 7.5 games for the eighth seed with five games left, but there's no doubt everyone involved is using their time in Orlando productively. 

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Wizards to deploy virtual social media influencer as reporter in Disney World

Wizards to deploy virtual social media influencer as reporter in Disney World

With virtual fans on screens on the sidelines and superimposed home court insignia on the floor, the NBA's restart has sort of resembled a glimpse into the future. Now that is about to be sent into overdrive, as the Wizards will have a virtual correspondent in Disney World to produce content.

'His' name is Liam Nikuro and he is a computer generated person who is already made a name for himself as a social media influencer. Though Nikuro is not real, he has already amassed an impressive following on Instagram.

Per a press release, the plan is for Nikuro to lead Wizards fans on "virtual adventures" in Orlando. The CGI-created human/avatar is licensed by a Japanese company called 1sec Inc.

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Exactly how the Wizards will use Nikuro in their content is unclear, but it represents a new realm of NBA media technology. Nikuro is the first correspondent of his kind in the NBA.

He is the first, but maybe not the last. Maybe someday all reporters will be virtual. Maybe someday all of us will be virtual. Maybe we already are.

Anyways, this definitely fits into the 'no one would believe this six months ago' category. The NBA is playing inside a bubble at Disney World and there is a CGI-generated correspondent. Just like all of us predicted, right?

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