The 2020 MLB bubble could feasibly be busted due to the way the playoffs have shaken out (very surprising in some cases). It could only happen under one scenario, but it could be done.
In an effort to get the postseason in while minimizing the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus, MLB elected to use a bubble to protect players and other necessary personnel. MLB watched how other sports handled the situation, then modeled their own plan after that.
Constructing the MLB PLayoff Bubble
When the plans for the bubble were formed, it was agreed that all Wild Card games would be played at the ballpark of the higher seed. From there, players would move to a bubble, consisting of four stadiums: Dodger Stadium (AL teams), PetCo Park in San Diego (AL teams), Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas (NL Teams), and Minute Maid Park in Houston (NL teams). The way the bubbles were set up, it ensured that no team had an unfair home-field advantage.
Why the MLB Bubble May Be Able to Be Busted
Now that we’re through the NLDS with just one game remaining in the ALDS (Tampa Bay Rays vs the New York Yankees), a scenario has arisen which could – and should – allow MLB to bust the bubble for the World Series.
Of the five remaining teams (Dodgers, Braves and Astros, with Game 5 pending between the Rays, and Yankees, two of the five teams have home stadiums which are part of the MLB bubble (Dodgers, Astros).
There’s only one scenario that would work, but if the Dodgers take the Braves in the NLCS and Houston is able to overcome the winner of the Yankees-Rays series in the ALCS, the MLB bubble could be scrapped.
So, Why Scrap the MLB Bubble?
The short answer to the question would be for some modicum of normalcy, as the 2020 MLB season comes to a close. Both the Dodgers and Astros have stadiums involved in the bubble, so why not scrap the plan to play the World Series in Arlington, instead, shifting it to a “normal” format being played between Dodger Stadium and Minute Maid Park?
Yes, limited tickets are being sold for the World Series, so it would be heartbreak for anyone with tickets to Arlington. More importantly, however, there’s a ton of bad blood between the Dodgers and Astros, especially with questions arising about the Astros cheating during the 2017 World Series.
The MLBPA (Player’s Union) has done enough to appease the league and the fans this season. Assuming the World Series comes down to Los Angeles and Houston, MLB needs to make this change for both the teams and their fans, so “hometown fans” can witness the rematch of a lifetime.
Due to the pandemic this year, baseball – along with all of the other sports – has been anything but normal. If those teams make it, let the impending free agents and trade candidates from L.A. and Houston play their final playoff games in their home stadiums. You know, one last hurrah.
Houston is 1,379 air miles from Los Angeles, only a few hundred miles further than the Mets had to fly to face the Marlins this year. Rob Manfred would find a million reasons why this couldn’t be done, but then again, that would be no different than how Manfred generally handles things – he usually takes the easy way out – just so long as the team owners are happy.
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