In response to the coronavirus outbreaks within the Marlins and Cardinals lockers rooms, Major League Baseball reportedly began discussing a bubble format for the postseason.
So far this season and presumably for the rest of the regular season schedule, players and coaches are responsible for practicing social distancing guidelines and staying healthy when they leave the ballpark.
In the NBA and NHL bubbles, nobody is allowed in or out of the campus unless given permission. If they come back, they have to quarantine for a set number of days depending on their activity outside the bubble.
MLB's method has led to several logistical complications as well as put several players at risk of contracting COVID-19, while the NBA and NHL have yet to report any new cases. If there's an outbreak in the postseason, it'll be infinitely more difficult to stick to schedule and conclude the season by November 1.
As ESPN's Jeff Passan reports, the league would likely need three hub cities to host the expanded playoff field (16 teams) for the Wild Card round and shrink to two hubs in the Divisional Series. Chicago, New York, Southern California are leading options at the moment, per Passan's story.
The bubble format isn't easily executed, as it took months for the NBA and NHL to set up their hubs in Orlando, Edmonton and Toronto respectively. The good news for baseball fans is that these discussions seem to be going down with enough time before September 27 to put a plan in motion.
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