Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) reportedly reached an agreement late Monday night to move all postseason games to neutral-site bubbles, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
According to Joel Sherman of MLB Network, players on contending teams will have to quarantine at a hotel for the final seven days of the reg season. That will include daily coronavirus testing.
Per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, American League postseason games are expected to be played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Petco Park in San Diego for the division series. Petco Park will then host the NLCS
For the National League, Globe Life Field in Arlington and Minute Maid Park in Houston will host the division series with the NLCS at Globe Life Field.
The World Series will stay in the Texas Rangers’ new home, which will begin on Oct. 20.
The NBA and NHL have proven that the bubble system works as both of their return-to-play plans, which began in August, included neutral-site bubble cities.
Walt Disney World hosted the NBA in Orlando, FL while the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs were split up by conference and played in Toronto and Edmonton. Both leagues have been COVID-19-free for roughly six weeks.
MLB did not follow the leads of either of those leagues, opting for all teams but the Toronto Blue Jays to play in their home stadiums. The Blue Jays were not permitted by the Canadian government to play their games north of the border, forcing them to head to Buffalo, NY for their home games.
What followed was COVID-19 outbreaks that impacted nearly all of its teams. As of Sept. 2, MLB was forced to postpone 41 games because of coronavirus concerns, providing more scheduling nightmares for a slate that originally expected its teams to play 60 games in 66 days.
The unprecedented season will also feature an expanded postseason that allows eight teams per league to make the playoffs rather than the traditional five.
As of Tuesday night, the Phillies hold the last non-Wild-Card spot in the National League playoff picture, just a half-game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals.