MLB discussing coronavirus bubble for playoffs

There could be a double meaning when the 2020 World Series champion pours out the bubbly.

Popping those champagne corks might happen inside a bubble, as MLB is discussing going to an isolation format for the postseason, according to reports from the Los Angeles Times and ESPN.

COVID-19 outbreaks have disrupted the regular-season schedules of a handful of teams, most notably keeping the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals idle for stretches longer than a week. Rescheduling has forced a slew of doubleheaders and limited off days down the stretch of the abbreviated 60-game season.

The plan gaining traction within the league, according to ESPN, is a multiple-city bubble similar to the NHL’s sites in Toronto and Edmonton. MLB expanded the playoffs from 10 to 16 teams this season, so three hubs would be the starting point, dropping to two for the Division Series and possibly one for the two League Championship Series.

Southern California (Los Angeles and San Diego), Chicago and New York are considered the sensible options because there are multiple MLB stadiums in each metropolitan area, per ESPN. That approach could minimize or eliminate air travel and keep teams in one hotel, though baseball’s problems so far stems from players leaving their hotels on free time.

Cleveland Indians pitchers Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger are in quarantine after violating protocols, but not before Clevinger reportedly flew with his teammates Sunday.

The NHL has administered 18,514 COVID-19 tests without a single positive result over the last three weeks.

A one-city bubble like the NBA has in Orlando would be hard to replicate for the MLB playoffs, which will bring in more than $1 billion in television revenue if completed.

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