We talked about it yesterday as Cubs GM Jed Hoyer speculated on the possibility of a playoff bubble, and it didn’t take long for word to come down that, indeed, MLB is thinking about a bubble setup for its postseason.
From Jeff Passan:
Major League Baseball has had preliminary discussions about holding its postseason in a bubble-type format, sources familiar with the conversations told ESPN.
Early details on why MLB is embracing the bubble and what it could look like, at ESPN: https://t.co/kHgBuVEqp9
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 11, 2020
With what we’ve seen from the Marlins and Cardinals, everyone seems to be on board with the idea that if an outbreak – or even just one or two positive tests – were to happen in the postseason, it could be an absolute disaster. So every possible precaution is necessary, including reducing/eliminating travel in the bubble setup, and the planning must start now.
A multi-city “bubble” – akin to what the NHL is doing – might be the most logistically feasible for MLB, though if it were to head to Southern California, all those cities could be in reasonably close proximity (and in good weather). From the ESPN report:
Although the shape of a theoretical baseball postseason bubble is not clear, it could look something like this:
The three-game National League wild-card round, played in three days, would stage the No. 1 seed vs. No. 8, No. 2 vs. No. 7 and No. 3 vs. No. 6 at Dodger Stadium. The same American League seeds would play at Angel Stadium, about 30 miles southeast in Anaheim. The Nos. 4 and 5 seeds in both leagues would face off at Petco Park in San Diego.
• The NL Division Series would hold two games per day at Dodger Stadium and the ALDS two games per day at Angel Stadium.
• The NLCS would be held at Dodger Stadium and the ALCS at Angel Stadium, or both would be played at a single site.
• The World Series would be held at a single site or perhaps both.
If things instead went to a larger multi-city approach (which would make it a little easier for TV purposes), Chicago is mentioned as a possibility thanks to having two big league parks in one city.
Lots and lots of details to be worked out, but it increasingly looks like this is going to be a necessary risk-reduction approach to the postseason, which is disproportionately important to owners this year for financial reasons.