At this point, we're close enough to MLB's regular-season finish line to know that the 2020 season -- the 60-game version -- is going to finish. It's going to be one of the craziest things we've ever seen in the sport, and no doubt the most doubleheaders in such a short time frame.
As we look forward to the playoffs, however, it doesn't really feel like the same approach is going to work. We've seen multiple teams deal with shutdowns after positive COVID-19 tests. The Cardinals were down from July 30-Aug. 14. Something like that happening in the middle of the playoffs could shut down the entire postseason. At the very least, they'd have to halt every series until every team could come back.
On that front, the league is considering some sort of bubble and/or neutral-site system in the playoffs, notably the World Series.
Per Ken Rosenthal of Fox and The Athletic, the league and the MLBPA are still negotiating about a playoff bubble structure.
"From everything I gather, there are going to be two different bubbles," Rosenthal said on Fox Sports 1.
Those two bubbles would be:
- American League bubble: Two of the three Southern California parks -- the homes of the Padres, Angels and Dodgers.
- National League bubble: Texas. Homes to the Astros and Rangers.
Rosenthal also noted that the current plan would be to play a neutral-site World Series at the Rangers new ballpark, Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Take note that it seems MLB is looking to avoid teams playing in their actual homes. In this scenario, the AL games would take place in either two NL parks or one NL park and one AL park of a team likely to miss the playoffs in the Angels. In Texas, it's the NL teams playing in two AL parks, and the Rangers are absolutely not making the World Series.
It also seems the Wild Card round -- in which eight teams in each league are competing in a three-game series in one ballpark -- is still up in the air. MLB and MLBPA apparently haven't yet decided on a bubble for those series or just having the home team play in their own home parks.
It's good to see MLB working toward limiting travel, but teams will still be leaving their regions, and that's something they haven't done all year. Not that it will lead to an outbreak or anything. We don't know that. I think the regular season has shown us this is going to be tricky. Let's hope it gets pulled off.