One baseball season ends, and another is ready to begin

The Oak Park Eagles baseball program starts their season, while the MLB playoffs have nearly arrived with a new format

While the MLB regular season has come to a close, an ameatuer season is gearing up. For Oak Park High School, baseball conditioning has returned.  

Sports conditioning is going to look different this fall because of COVID-19. Athletes will be conditioning in pods, a system that attempts to ensure all athletes on campus are safe from COVID-19. 

There is no contact permitted, face masks must be worn at all times except when running and temperatures will be monitored before and after conditioning occurs. 

Sophomore and baseball player Landon Holmes is hoping to get a roster spot on the varsity baseball team this year. Holmes plays at first and third base and has been playing baseball since the age of five. An injury at football practice on Labor Day last year left him sidelined for roughly five months, and as soon as he went to touch the field for the first time since his injury, COVID-19 hit. 

“Heartbreak, you know. Coming off an injury and finally being able to play the sport I love — and then it being taken from me — was a real bummer,” Holmes said. 

Baseball is one of the several sports that is making its return to OPHS for conditioning. However, that is not the only thing that is bringing excitement to Oak Park baseball fanatics.

The MLB is following the NBA’s footsteps by creating their own “bubble” for the MLB playoffs.

In this bubble, the MLB “plans to hold its postseason with home games across the country. While the top four seeds in each league would host all three potential wild-card-round games to cut down on travel, the five-game division series and seven-game league championship series and World Series would include regular travel,” ESPN baseball columnist Jeff Passan wrote.

The hosts for these games include Los Angeles, Houston, San Diego and Arlington.

Additionally, the MLB playoffs will have a new sixteen-team format. In previous years, only 10 teams were able to compete in the playoffs. Fans are optimistic, specifically the ones who are fans of the hometown team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The men in blue and white have looked sharp in this shortened season, finishing with a record of 43-17, the best in all of baseball and they hope to continue this hot streak into the playoffs and bring home the World Series trophy for the first time since 1988. 

“The Dodgers are looking great, and if they keep it up, I believe they can win it all,” Holmes said.

So far, there have been no positive tests throughout the players, coaches, and staff inside the MLB since August 30.

“If we want to make sure we get through October, we really need to get this right,” an official told Passan before the “bubble” started.   

The next round of the playoffs will begin Sunday, Oct. 11.

 “Fittingly, a season like no other will end with a postseason like none before it,” the Sports Illustrated MLB staff wrote.