Throughout the 2020 season, many games are being postponed due to the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins COVID-19 outbreaks. This has now led to MLB having discussions about holding the postseason in a bubble. They would play in a bubble format to ensure that the postseason does not get scrapped by outbreaks of COVID-19, and so MLB can test regularly in one to three locations. This was first reported by Jeff Passan last night.
This bubble would be a similar scenario to what the NBA, WNBA, and MLS did to continue their 2020 seasons. However, MLB would need more than two or three ballparks to host a postseason. They would also need to follow what the NHL is doing, which is to find multiple hub cities to host games.
MLB expanded the playoffs this year from ten to sixteen teams. This means that the league will need at least three hub cities to start with for the Wild Card round, then move to a two hub city format for the division series. For the championship series and the World Series, they could use at least one ballpark to host the games. The regular season ends late in September, so they still have some time to make an MLB bubble.
Potential Hub Cities
There are several locations MLB could use for hub cities in the 2020 postseason. One that comes to mind would be New York, New York because of the available ballparks in the area. Another location would be Chicago for the same reason. Also, if they do indeed do a third hub city, the third option would be Los Angeles. A few other places they could possibly use are Houston, Arizona, and Florida.
There could, however, be a few issues with these cities. In New York and Chicago, mother nature is not the kindest in these cities for October baseball. Another issue is Arizona only has one MLB ballpark to use. Also, Florida has Miami and Tampa to use, but they would not be the greatest choice to use for a postseason. So out of these hub cities that come to mind, Los Angeles would be the one that would be the easiest to use for an MLB bubble.
As we have seen, one positive test has shut down teams for weeks and can cause serious issues in the scheduling. If a team cannot play for one to two weeks during the postseason or if a star player got COVID-19 and was out for an entire series, fans would challenge the integrity of the game.
This is why doing an MLB bubble seems like a realistic possibility. It is very early in the process of trying to form a bubble, however, seeing the recent success of the bubble format around the sports world has drawn interest by Major League Baseball. The last thing MLB would want is to play its 60-game season and not finish the postseason.
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