The fact that MLB did not follow the NBA and NHL in their bubble format was a little bit surprising. So it makes sense that baseball is now looking at regional bubbles for the playoffs coming up in October.
Jeff Passan of ESPN first reported yesterday that MLB was in preliminary talks about setting up a bubble-format. It would not operate like the NBA in terms of there being one location. Rather, it would operate similarly to that of the NHL, with regional locations being used.
The playoffs could potentially start in three locations for the wild card round. That would shrink down to one or two locations in the championship round and World Series. Southern California, Chicago, and New York were all possible locations mentioned due to the number of stadiums available for MLB.
Obviously, Los Angeles would be the ideal location for a World Series given the weather on the east coast during October. As of now, there is no clear frontrunner to host in the preliminary discussions by MLB and clubs.
As of now, MLB is planning to hold playoffs across the country. The wildcard round would be entirely hosted by top seeds to reduce travel in the new expanded playoff format. The championship series and World Series would include regular travel.
The reasoning for the sudden rush to create a bubble format is pretty clear for MLB. Several teams throughout the league have demonstrated that baseball is very much susceptible to an outbreak. The Marlins and Cardinals are the clearest examples of that.
NBA & NHL COVID Cases
Meanwhile, the NBA and NHL continue to thrive without any outbreaks popping up in their respective bubbles. It’s a mystery why MLB had not pursued something similar in the first place, but better late than never I suppose.