MLB and the MLBPA have reached an agreement to host the 2020 postseason at neutral bubble sites.
This decision has been anticipated for months, but on Monday morning, the MLB and MLB Players Association reached an agreement to host the 2020 playoffs in neutral site bubbles. A 2020 MLB Postseason Bubble. The agreement was first reported by Ken Rosenthal, senior writer for The Athletic.
According to Rosenthal, the agreement outlines that the entire 2020 postseason will be played at these neutral site bubbles, save the first round to be hosted by the higher-seeded teams.
It’s expected the MLB will officially announce this news sometime on Tuesday.
While some of the details remain unclear, sources expect the expanded Wild Card round to be hosted by higher seeds. As we already know, the MLB announced an expanded postseason in 2020.
Under the expanded postseason template, eight teams will earn playoff berths in both the AL and NL. The eight teams are comprised of the first and second-place finishers in each division, as well as two “at large” bids representative of the next best records.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the AL postseason will be hosted in southern California. Dodger Stadium and Petco Park will play host to the AL divisional round, with Petco Park hosting the ALCS.
The NL postseason will be held in Texas, at Globe Life Field in Arlington, and Minute Maid Park in Houston. The NLCS and World Series will both play at the brand new Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers that opened earlier this year.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made some rather interesting comments regarding the presence of fans at these bubble sites. On Monday night, in an online event hosted by Hofstra University, Manfred declared he was hopeful fans may attend the LCS and World Series in the bubble.
Undoubtedly, these comments raise questions. Is allowing fans truly indicative that this is a secure bubble?
Several American sports leagues have experimented with true bubbles. Most notably, the NBA.
The NBA has seen resounding success with the resumption of its 2020 season and playoffs at the Disney Bubble in Orlando, Florida. The league continuously monitors its players and staff, has been airtight in allowing only players, team and league staff, and approved media into the bubble with strict quarantine regulations and rules prohibiting anyone leaving the bubble.
The result? For the past 2.5 months, the NBA has played a COVID-19 free stretch of basketball. More recently, the NBA allowed postseason teams to invite their families to the bubble after strict quarantine and testing protocols.
While we await more official details surrounding the 2020 MLB postseason bubble, fans are hopeful that Manfred and the league will follow similar guidelines and successes seen by the NBA.