MLB could shift to bubble for playoffs

FILE PHOTO: Aug 10, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (30) looks on from the dugout during the seventh inning of the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball is contemplating using a bubble environment for playoff games with options including Los Angeles and Chicago.

According to multiple reports, MLB’s postseason could shift to a large city — or two cities — to help prevent an outbreak of the coronavirus. COVID-19 cases have been mostly avoided by the NBA and NHL. Each league is in a controlled campus-type atmosphere with diligent testing and restrictive access to and from the sites.

The league is jumping to 16 teams from a 10-team postseason format implemented in 2012, when a second wild card was added in both leagues.

California was floated as a hub with teams able to play games in Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego and San Francisco, ESPN reported. Chicago and New York are also under consideration, but weather concerns in October could complicate making either city a primary focus of postseason baseball.

Additional playoff games this year was part of a design for owners and players recoup some of the losses incurred due to the regular season being reduced from 162 to 60 games because of the coronavirus pandemic. Games are being played behind closed doors, cutting off the game-day income derived from tickets, parking, concessions and merchandise sales.

When the clubs and the Major League Baseball Players Association engaged in contentious talks over the length of the delayed season, MLB had proposed a 16-team playoff field for this year. However, that item was eliminated when commissioner Rob Manfred ultimately imposed a 60-game slate for each team.

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