Major League Baseball has completed its plan for the 2020 postseason to take place in “bubble” environments and only needs approval of the MLB Players Association, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Friday evening.
According to the report, the neutral-site playoff format is expected to be finalized sometime next week after players agree to modified protocols necessary to make the bubble work. Though the league can proceed without the players’ blessing, MLB believes it’s important to have their willing participation given the restrictions. The sides are currently negotiating a bubble with a shorter lifespan.
Under the format, created to mitigate the potential for a coronavirus outbreak, the postseason would begin with the top four seeds in each league hosting their entire best-of-three wild-card series. The AL games would run from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 and NL games from Sept. 30 - Oct. 2.
Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, would play host to the highest remaining seed in the NLDS, while the next-highest seed would play at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The NLCS and World Series would also be played in Arlington. The World Series would begin Oct. 20 and end no later than Oct. 28.
The AL’s top remaining seed after the wild-card round would play at Petco Park in San Diego, and the next-highest would play its opponent at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The ALCS would be played in San Diego.
MLB still needs iron out details around how families would enter the bubble, according to Passan. Bubble discussions in April fell apart over those logistical issues.
If approved, the MLB will follow in the footsteps of the NBA and NHL, both of which also used bubble-like environments for their postseasons. The NBA’s entire postseason has been played in Orlando, while the NHL’s conferences were divided between Toronto and Edmonton.