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MLB postseason bubble research continues

Major League BaseballWe reported on this scenario last week, and apparently momentum is building on a MLB postseason bubble built along the lines of what the NHL set up for its 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs in two Canadian cities.

As noted last week, MLB was reviewing three playoff scenarios in the hopes of setting up a structure that would stand little chance of being shut down with a coronavirus pandemic. 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.

Right now it sounds like MLB officials are leaning toward warm-weather neutral sites featuring player and staff bubbles, though–as we’ve frequently been warning since the season was shut down in March–things could change. ESPN isn’t reporting too much new, to be honest, but it adding the fact that MLB officials have communicated with NHL officials about how the sport ran its bubble play. Currently under discussion is an MLB plan mirroring the NHL plan, with ballparks in Southern California, Texas, New York and Chicago/Milwaukee under consideration for the initial rounds and San Diego and Arlington for the divisional championships.

The NHL has not created a pure bubble in its two-city setup a la the NBA in Orlando, but it’s close: arenas and surrounding restaurants and bars are subject to restrictions, but employees are allowed in and out. The NBA has tighter access but has allowed players into other Disney World areas, including golf courses.

The bottom line: we’re almost halfway through the truncated 2020 season, so it’s time for the planning of the postseason.

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