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MLB Playoff Bubble: MLBPA, the league agrees to neutral seats for 2020 after the season

The 2020 Premier League baseball bubble plan has been approved by the MLB Players’ Association, MLB announced on Tuesday. The Divisional Series, the League Championship Series and the World Series will be held in ball parks on a neutral site, where players will be housed in nearby balloons in one place.

The balloon approach to MLB would help minimize the risk of a new coronavirus outbreak. Shortly after the start of the 2020 season, there was a large outbreak of coronavirus in Miami Marlins. The St. Louis Cardinals are also suffering from an outbreak throughout the team and both are putting the MLB season in jeopardy. In total, the league has been forced to postpone a total of 43 games on schedule due to positive cases of COVID-1


Here are the specific balloon locations for the extended playoffs:

  • NLDS: The Globe Field of Life in Arlington, Texas and Minute Maid Park in Houston
  • ALDS: Petco Park in San Diego and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles
  • NLCS: Living field of a globe
  • ALCS: Petco Park
  • World Series: Field of Life of the Globe

The outbreak of COVID-19 during the season would cause chaos on the tournament schedule and racing integrity. The post-baseball season also coincides with the start of the flu season, so there is an added incentive to determine a safe option to isolate players.

Here are three things you need to know about the playoff plan for the 2020 league:

1. This will be a change from the regular season

When Major League Baseball returned to play in July, it was the only major American professional team sports league committed to traveling amid the coronavirus pandemic. Other sports leagues such as the WNBA, NBA and MLS have decided that setting up a balloon in one place is the right choice for their plans to return to the game.

Our RJ Anderson previously figured out why baseball doesn’t use the bubble plan for the 2020 regular season.

When baseball returned for the first time, there were no official restrictions on players or other team staff, such as managers and coaches. After the outbreaks in the organizations of Marlins and Cardinals, the league doubled in wearing masks in the dugouts during games and following the guidelines for social distancing.

The league also added a requirement for each team to travel with a compliance officer who ensures that the team and players of the team adhere to the league’s health and safety protocols.

Although post-season league setup will not completely eliminate travel – this would actually be the first team to leave its geographically based divisions – setting up bubbles for each series in the post-season period will help minimize the chances of an outbreak. Players will probably have to follow similar, strict instructions from the regular season.

2. Quarantines for players and families start a week before the playoffs

During the negotiations on the format for this year’s postseason, one of the differences between the players and the league was the restrictions on the families of the players who want to enter the bubble. From Tuesday, families will be allowed to be with players leading to and during the postseason, Rosenthal said.

Players’ families will be allowed to quarantine players on competing teams for seven days leading up to the post-season. They will then be able to stay together throughout their team’s playoffs. For families who decide to take this route, they will be considered part of the MLB bubble. All members inside the balloon will be tested daily.

According to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, all players from competing teams will move to hotels next week (the last week of the regular season) to “create a situation similar to quarantine before the playoffs.” Here’s more from Sherman:

Some players fought against the concept, believing that the sport had performed well in the last month in minimizing the cases of COVID-19 and were concerned that the teams that quarantined in late September and reached the World Series, could be absent from families for one month or More ▼.

But MLB strongly expressed fears of not going that far and not finishing the playoffs and insisted on the safest possible protocols to end the year.

So the contrived plan requires all competing clubs – even those at home – to move to a hotel during the last week of the regular season. All players on the 40-member list and IL will be asked to join this quarantine, as once it starts, clubs can no longer invite a player from the alternate site to join the 28-member list – it will only be those who are in quarantine.

As teams are eliminated from the playoffs, players at these clubs can leave the hotels if they wish.

Families of managers and coaches were not included in the MLB / MLBPA agreement as there was simply not enough capacity in the hotels. But as the field narrows after the season, there will be room, Rosenthal added. All members inside the balloon will be tested daily.

3. Locations are set; the presence is in the air

The World Series will be held at the new Rangers Stadium, and the bubbles are such that no team will play at home after the first round. In the best of the three rounds of Wild Card at the beginning of the cuts, the taller seed will host all the games in his home. These series should start in the days after the end of the regular season on September 27 and will quickly sort the playoffs to eight teams that will move to neutral places.

Fans have been unable to attend MLB games this season due to the pandemic, although that may change in October. Speaking earlier this week, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he hoped fans could attend LCS and World Series matches in some capacity.

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