MLB Playoff Bubble Comes Into Focus
Major League Baseball and the players union are discussing a proposal for the final three rounds of the postseason and the World Series to played at a neutral, controlled-bubble site.
The desire to shift to a bubble format comes following outbreaks that shut down action for the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals for an extended period of time earlier this season.
The National League postseason would be played at Globe Life Field in Arlington and Minute Maid Park in Houston, while Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Petco Park in San Diego would host the American League postseason.
The World Series would be held at Globe Life Field.
The details regarding health and safety protocols imposed by local governments in Texas and Southern California are the main issue with the deal moving forward.
Another talking point for the two sides has surrounded accommodations for family members in the bubble environments. MLB would require family members to isolate for seven days before joining players in their hotels, just like the NBA and NHL requested for their postseason rounds.
Following that time frame, families would be able to join players in their hotels for the Division Series or the Word Series. If they opt out of quarantining, they could still attend the postseason as guests of MLB, but would be unable to stay at team hotels.
A few teams have pushed back on the proposal, including the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have not registered a single positive test since testing began prior to training camp.
Union representative Justin Turner voiced the players' objections to being away from their families for the initial best-of-three rounds of the playoffs.
First round games, scheduled for Sept. 29 through Oct. 2, will be best-of-three, with all opening round games played at the home park of the higher-seeded team. It would be the last time any team could hold home-field advantage.
The remaining rounds will be their usual length, with the Division Series in each league being best-of-five, and the AL and NL Championship Series, and the World Series, being best-of-seven.
Before opening pitch, MLB and the MLB Players Association agreed to expand the playoffs from 10 to 16 teams for the 60-game 2020 season.
The three division winners, the second place teams in every division, and two additional wild cards will make the postseason in each league. Seeding will be based on teams' regular season records.