• The Star Staff

Tough for the Winter League to play in bubble format

By Marcos Mejías Ortiz

Special to The Star

In the United States, the NBA, and MLB in the postseason, bet on the bubble system to complete their 2020 seasons. In Puerto Rico, the National Superior Basketball (BSN by its Spanish initials) aspires to do the same in the month of November. However, for the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (LBPRC) that option is not very viable.

In recent days, the Puerto Rico government told the LBPRC, also known as the Winter League, to play its next tournament in a bubble format using only two stadiums to minimize any possibility of an outbreak of coronavirus infections amid the global pandemic.

However, says Caguas Criollos President Raúl Rodríguez, that alternative cannot be adjusted to the reality of the winter league.

“It is very difficult,” Rodríguez told The San Juan Daily Star after the press conference at which the renovation plans for Yldefonso Solá Morales Stadium were presented. “Baseball is not about time. There is the issue of the dugouts. Dressing rooms would have to be created. They are not easy like basketball or other sports.”

The league presented to the commonwealth government a plan to play in its regular stadiums in the towns of San Juan (Santurce Cangrejeros and RA12), Manatí (Atenienses), Aguadilla (Tiburones), Mayagüez (Indios), Carolina (Gigantes) and Cayey (the temporary home of the Criollos). The government presented the option of playing in two stadiums, but Rodríguez said the hope remains that the teams will play in their respective stadiums.

“The [LBPRC] president [Juan Flores Galarza] had a meeting with the [La Fortaleza] chief of staff [Antonio Pabón] and if things do not change, from the beginning we have said that we must wait until the end of November to see how the situation [develops],” Rodríguez said regarding COVID-19 cases in Puerto Rico.

“We are giving the government what they need, which is security in relation to COVID,” Rodríguez said. “I think they will accept that we play in the stadiums in the towns. We should not have problems.”

The Winter League season is scheduled to begin on Dec. 1, although the last word on whether it will be played at all remains in the hands of the island government.