One-Site MLB Bubble Format World Series Confirmed
The MLB and MLBPA have finally reached an agreement on playing the 2020 postseason in a bubble environment. The league put the option on the table after the NHL and NBA’s bubble yielded positive results.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed the approval of the players’ association in his recent announcement. Citing the main benefits of the bubble environment, Manfred said:
“The elimination of travel is obviously positive because it cuts exposure…Less interaction outside with the group that you’re looking to protect is a huge positive. It’s all about what the risk of interacting with the community is.”
Tony Clark, Former MLB first baseman and current executive director of the MLBPA, backed Manfred’s announcement. Clark has been in constant negotiations with Manfred and the MLB regarding salary, game extensions, and schedule since the pandemic began.
“The agreement attempts to balance players’ experiences and concerns while making the accommodations necessary to best ensure a safe, healthy and successful conclusion to the 2020 season,” Clark said in an interview.
The entirety of the World Series will take place at the Texas Rangers’ new ballpark in Arlington, Texas. This is the first time the MLB will only use one site since 1944—when the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the St. Louis Browns Browns in six games at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, a field shared by both teams.
The World Series, division series, and league championship series will be part of a bubble format designed to minimize travel and COVID-19 exposure. The pandemic already limited the MLB’s regular season to a 60-game schedule for each club and caused postponements of 45 games.
While the MLB and MLBPA agreed to host the entire season in one site, Manfred and the league preferred to use the bubble for the latter stages of the postseason to avoid further rescheduling and postponements. Manfred also thinks that the neutral-site World Series is a ‘one-off’, along with other alternative sports innovations designed to combat the pandemic.
The final eight teams from the regular season will shift to bubble environments once the stage concludes. While waiting for the top teams vying for the 2020 title, the MLB is preparing to extend the capacity of its venue. The league eyes the possibility of fans attending live games soon.