MLB is mulling several scenarios for managing the 2020 playoffs, including setting up a bubble environment and playing all the games at a warm-weather single site, as the specter of losing a competitor to a COVID-19 outbreak is looming over postseason planning.
Bill Shaikin is reporting on the various scenarios currently being debated by MLB officials, and it appears that there’s little hope of fans in the stands by the time the playoffs roll around. One obvious scenario has the playoffs unfolding in a relatively normal fashion, with traditional home-field scheduling. Another creates a team bubble for the playoffs no matter where the games are played. Another scenario calls for the playoffs and the World Series moved to a warm-weather neutral site where the COVID-19 virus is considered to be under control, likely creating a bubble for players there as well.
That’s all well and good, but trying to predict where the COVID-19 virus is considered to be under control two months out is a crapshoot, especially when you want a warm-weather site. At one point it looked like California had things under control, then positives rose. Similarly, at one point MLB was considering holding a shortened season in Florida, Arizona and Texas–and today those states are COVID-19 hotspots. Right now a warm-weather state means a state slammed by the COVID-19 virus.
So the emphasis will be on a facilities that won’t be impacted by the weather, and one where a bubble is feasible–like Chase Field. From the Los Angeles Times:
MLB has not determined how it would proceed if a team were hit by an outbreak in the postseason, but shutting down the postseason for a week might not be tenable for the other teams in the playoff field or for the league’s television partners. On the other hand, a team advancing in the playoffs simply because its opponent was disqualified because of an outbreak might not be satisfactory.
“Now you’re basically starting to talk about a ‘Hunger Games’ scenario,” said Dr. Dena Grayson, a Florida-based pandemic specialist.
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