Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association came to an agreement Monday night to play this year’s postseason in “bubble” environments in San Diego, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Houston and Arlington, Texas, after first-round games in the home parks of teams with the better records. Before I get to the schedule, Joel Sherman of the New York Post laid out the bubble scenarios on Twitter better than I’ve seen elsewhere, so I’m going to post his entire explanatory sequence of tweets here:
Heard the plan right now:— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) September 15, 2020
--players on contending teams will have to quarantine at a hotel in the final 7 days of the reg season
—daily COVID testing
—players can elect to leave the hotel if their team is eliminated
Just to be clear on the last-week quarantine: all teams in contention will have to move into a hotel (even at home). Once a team is eliminated, players have the right to leave the hotel situation.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) September 15, 2020
Also heard that teams will be allowed to keep operating the alternate sites, but there won’t be any transfer of players allowed from the Alt site to the MLB cub after the quarantines begin, so expect all 40-man players and those on IL to be part of the quarantine— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) September 15, 2020
Family members who embed with the team will be subject to the same restrictions as players. They will be allowed to attend DS games following guidelines subject to local health officials.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) September 15, 2020
Family members who want to join the player in the DS must complete a 7-day quarantine beginning 9/26 or 27-10/3 or 4 in a separate hotel from the team. The family members must fly a charter to rejoin the player— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) September 15, 2020
A 3d option for up to 6 players will be to have family members go to one of the 4 neutral sites for the DS/LCS, but not stay with the players or interact directly (social distance).— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) September 15, 2020
This all sounds like a pretty good plan to keep players healthy while still allowing them to have some family members with them, or nearby. Remember that only two teams will have to quarantine for the entire time from the last week of September through the last week of October, about five weeks’ worth. The other clubs will leave quarantine as they are eliminated from the postseason. It will be strange for players to quarantine at hotels at home during the last week, but this whole season has been strange. It sounds like they’ve put a great deal of thought into these protocols.
Here is the entire postseason schedule, round by round:
The Cubs would wind up being in either the 3/6 or 2/7 wild card series, presuming they do win the NL Central. As you can see, that series would have games on September 30 and October 1 and 2, all at Wrigley Field if the Cubs are the division winner. TBS and ESPN will carry the wild-card series, but a specific schedule has not yet been announced.
Now, on to the division series, which will be played at Globe Life Field and Minute Maid Park (NL series) and Dodger Stadium and Petco Park (AL series). As you can see, this is being done so no team would be playing at its home park:
Since the Cubs, as NL Central winner (presumably!), would be in either the 2/7 or 3/6 series, if they win that wild-card series, they’d play the next round at Houston. The “home” team would be the one with the better regular-season record. Note that all of these series will be played without off days.
It could make a difference in the way teams handle rotations and bullpens, though. With no off days, teams would have to use a four-man rotation instead of the three-man most teams usually use in the Division Series round.
Here’s the LCS schedule:
As is the case for the division series, the LCS round will be played without off days. There’s no travel involved, obviously, and this is an effort to compress the entire schedule. It could make a difference in the way teams handle rotations and bullpens, though. With no off days, teams would have to use a five-man rotation instead of the four-man they usually use in the LCS. Similar to the division series, teams would have to use an extra starter: a five-man rotation instead of the four-man they usually use in the LCS.
Here’s the 2020 World Series schedule:
As opposed to the previous two rounds, there will be two off days during the World Series. You’ll note they have been carefully chosen to avoid NFL broadcasts on Thursday and Monday. The entire thing will wrap up before Halloween.
And wouldn’t it be weird if the Cubs and White Sox wound up meeting in the World Series and none of the games are played in Chicago?