When Major League Baseball returned to play in July, it was the only major American professional sports league committed to traveling amid the coronavirus pandemic. Other sports leagues like the WNBA, NBA and MLS determined that a one-location bubble setup was the right choice for their return-to-play plans.
While MLB took notable measures in health and safety protocols and decided to play fan-less games, shortly after the 2020 season began, there was a major coronavirus outbreak among the Miami Marlins. The St. Louis Cardinals also suffered from an outbreak and both put the MLB season in jeopardy. All in all, the league was forced to postpone 37 total games (so far) on the schedule due to positive COVID-19 cases.
Our R.J. Anderson broke down why baseball didn't use the bubble plan for the 2020 regular season earlier this month. But now, the league could be changing its plans when it comes to the 2020 postseason.
According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, MLB is exploring bubble site options for the month-long playoffs in October. The league has explored hosting the American League in southern California and the National League in Texas, with the World Series possibly held at the Rangers' new Globe Life Field, per Rosenthal.
Rosenthal didn't clarify which specific ballparks in each warm-weather state would be used. In California, there's Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Petco Park in San Diego and Angel Stadium in Anaheim. In Texas, it's Minute Maid Park in Houston and Globe Life Field in Arlington.
The bubble approach would help minimize the the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak that would wreak havoc over the tournament's schedule and competitive integrity. Baseball's postseason also coincides with the onset of flu season, so there is added incentive to determine a safe option for isolating its players.
The league is continuing discussions about the options with the MLB Players Association, Rosenthal adds. The final plan is subject to ownership approval. Before the start of this 60-game regular season, the league and union agreed to an expanded postseason. Sixteen teams will make the playoffs this year, including the first- and second-place finishers in each division.