Major League Baseball has begun creating an operations manual outlining the procedures necessary for a neutral-site “bubble” setup for the 2020 postseason, ESPN.com’s Emily Kaplan and Jeff Passan write. Though still in the early stages, the fact that the league is taking such preparatory steps indicates that the new staging format could very possibly happen for October’s games.
MLB’s plan would most closely resemble the NHL’s bubble format for its ongoing Stanley Cup playoffs. Kaplan and Passan outline the NHL’s plan for those unfamiliar, detailing such aspects as COVID-19 testing, what life is like for players inside of the “bubble” (actually two areas in downtown Toronto and Edmonton that contain the arenas, hotels, and other amenities, with the entire area closed off to the public) as well the challenges of maintaining this environment while also keeping the postseason’s competitive integrity intact.
In theory, the 2020 Major League Baseball playoffs could adopt something of the same format, with two host cities — or at least host areas — staging the National League and American League’s games. Texas and southern California are “early favorites” to be hub areas, Kaplan/Passan write, with New York and the Chicago/Milwaukee also under consideration. One would imagine that Texas and SoCal would be favored in part because of the likelihood of better weather conditions for October baseball than the more northern cities, though Milwaukee’s Miller Park at least has a roof. It is possible different cities could be used for different postseason rounds — Kaplan and Passan write about a scenario that would see, for instances, each league’s division series played in San Diego and Arlington, and then another city could be used for the two LCS matchups as well as the World Series.
While MLB is already in the planning stages and they do have the benefit of learning from how the NHL and NBA have already launched and maintained their bubbles for postseason play, there are still a lot of obvious complications ahead should baseball try to install such a plan for October. For one, baseball will be heading into its playoffs directly on the heels of the regular season, while the NHL and NBA had months during the pandemic lockdown to plan and prepare for their restarts. Both the MLB office and league owners have openly expressed concern about extending the season much beyond October due to fears of a possible second COVID-19 wave later in the year, and the mechanics of getting 16 teams (don’t forget, MLB has an expanded playoffs this year) safely into the bubble and completing enough testing to start playoff games might require some extra time.
wild bill tetley
Told you so.
Thanks for that….
Lol, the reason I say that is, because on the article that was posted a few days ago about the bubble, I said that Texas is one of the states they will look to for this.
dave frost nhlpa
BEEN SAYING THOSE SAME CITIES FOR A MONTH.
wild bill tetley
Couldn’t pull it off with 30 teams. 16 yes. Not 30. You’ve said absolutely nothing.
A bubble could work. NBA succeeding so far with the bubble in Orlando, and Florida is one of the worse states for COVID right now. The key is, and will be, will the players behave and stay in the bubble.
Despite cases with the Reds, Cardinals, and Marlins, the current format is working for the most part. But we can’t be postponing games for weeks and doing multiple DH in the playoffs. LA makes sense, not only do they have Dodger Stadium and the Angels stadium, but San Diego is not that far away. The issue with Texas is that Houston and Arlington are about a 4 hour drive apart so would have to set up two separate hubs in Texas.
Though remember this, Arlington also has Globe Life Park within throwing distance of the new Globe Life Field. Both are MLB ready, and the Park (despite being used in the XFL last year), is the Rangers alternate training site, and is ready for MLB action anytime (weather permitting). Another thing is that Field and Park are two completely different places, one is a pitchers park, one a hitter’s domain. That would be cool to see.
“MLB’s plan would most closely resemble the NHL’s bubble format for its ongoing Stanley Cup playoffs.”
Manfred finally took the advice to copy everything the NHL does and just switch the words hockey and baseball.
The only issue is that you need more fields because they play every day instead of every other day. New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and SF/Oakland could all work.
Do NOT host the World Series in a minor league ballpark. Free advice. Has to be in an MLB stadium.
wild bill tetley
Because it HAS to be an MLB park, that is why there wasn’t a bubble in the first place. Trying to schedule 15 games in a day would’ve been difficult. At least with 16 teams that brings it down to 8. That can be done. But you need to add Miami/Tampa in the mix. Domed parks.
Also Orlando to list because have a Stadium in place,other Ball fields at Disney Wide World of Sports or that could just be Basketball but also have Tinker field is still Stading and also if needed where Jags,Bucs,Dolphins play just got to turn Grass into a Baseball Diamond. same with where Dallas Cowboys play or where other Football teams play that on a dome.
What’s the point of a bubble if the bubble changes up to four times? Also time zones have to be factored in for night games. East coast teams don’t want to start games at 10 pm or later. An east coast site is necessary until, at least, the World Series. Also, this would kill home field advantage for finishing first in your division.
Seems to make sense to go somewhere that has a roof on the ballpark.
In hindsight, MLB is probably regretting that they didn’t do this for the regular season as well.
They would have had a lot more players opting out in my opinion if they tried the bubble for 4 months.