MLB Considering Playoff Bubble
Major League Baseball’s postseason, including the World Series, could be played in a bubble, according to multiple reports.
An anonymous league source first told the Bill Shaikin of the LA Times that MLB is preparing “contingency plans for the postseason.”
Among those plans includes a postseason bubble, similar to what the NBA and NHL are presently employing. Creating a bubble takes a lot of planning, which teams are cognizant of, as ESPN’s Jeff Passan points out.
While the NBA, WNBA and NHL have so far enjoyed success with their respective bubble plans, as have soccer’s MLS and NWSL, baseball faces some unique challenges.
For one, a plan similar to the NBA’s single-campus bubble wouldn’t be ideal due to the need for multiple stadiums. Baseball fields are quite a bit larger than basketball courts, after all. With that in mind, the NHL’s multi-city approach has gained traction, per Passan.
Weather and the sheer size of baseball’s footprint also play an important factor, an issue previously acknowledged when MLB mulled the idea of a regular-season bubble in Arizona.
Keep in mind, MLB already approved expanding the amount of postseason teams from 10 to 16 for 2020. According to Passan, that could mean MLB needing a least three hub cities to host the wild-card round before consolidating as the postseason progressed.
For now, the league still plans to have the playoffs hosted in home cities by the higher seeds, but it appears a backup plan is in the works.