Major League Baseball has tread a rocky path, dealing with numerous COVID-19 outbreaks and scares within franchises as it attempts to get through a shortened 60-game season played out at home parks across the country. For the MLB postseason, the sport will be moving towards something closer to the NBA and NHL Bubble setups, with playoff games and the 2020 World Series being held on neutral sites.
Today, we have confirmation on how things will play out for the newly-expanded 16-team playoff. The National League will post up in Texas, with Wildcard and NLDS series in Arlington and Houston, while the American League will play in California, with Los Angeles and San Diego hosting games.
The NLCS will be at the brand new Globe Life Field in Arlington, while San Diego’s Petco Park will serve as the site for the ALCS. After that, the entire seven-game World Series will be played at Globe Life Park, home of the Texas Rangers.
In a unique move befitting a bizarre year, with will be the first entirely neutral-site World Series, and the first held at just one site since 1944. That year, the St. Louis Cardinals won the series four games to two against the St. Louis Browns—now the Baltimore Orioles—at the teams’ shared home park of Sportsman’s Park.
As expected, MLB announces bubble format for 2020 postseason. First neutral-site World Series in league history. pic.twitter.com/1aRrVeX2oC
— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBG) September 15, 2020
The NL playoffs will be held at American League parks, and vice versa, so there isn’t even a chance of some slight home field advantage based on familiarity for teams involved. The Texas Rangers, who would be hosts for the World Series, are 17-30 and almost entirely out of the playoff hunt.
“In the view of our infectious disease experts, the biggest risk of exposure for players and staff is contact with family members and friends who have been exposed to COVID-19 in their communities,” MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem wrote in a memo sent to team’s Monday, about the decision to move to a bubble environment, per the Associated Press. “Nearly all of the positive test results that have been reported for players and staff in the last month can be traced back to contact with an infected family member, domestic partner, or friend outside of club facilities.”
According to the AP report, players will be permitted to have up to six family members and guests stay at separate hotels in the bubble campuses during the playoffs, providing they go through seven-day quarantine periods.
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