MLB, Union Reach Agreement on 2020 Playoff Format That May Include No Off-Days in Pre-World Series Rounds

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeted Tuesday morning that Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have reached an agreement on the 2020 postseason format, including neutral-site bubbles for each round. The specifics of those sites were first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan last week and included higher seeds hosting all three opening-round games, with subsequent series being hosted at neutral sites.

The only holdup at the time appeared to be whether and how families would be able to enter the semi-quarantine bubble, but Rosenthal reports that those details have all been worked out. So the plan is for the division series to be held in Texas (NL) and Southern California (AL), with the World Series at the Rangers’ new ballpark in Arlington. That ensures no team has home-field advantage in any round beyond the opener.

Rosenthal has some additional info about how the bubbles will work, but you’ll want to stick around for some more details about the scheduling

According to Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, who may be the only non-high schooler still working for the former print juggernaut, the playoff plan also includes no days off during the first three rounds. Unless every starter goes long, this is really going to test bullpen depth in a big way.

One more wrinkle this year that will make this postseason even more unpredictable: MLB and the players association are close to an agreement on no off days in the first-round series (up to three straight games), Division Series (five straight) and League Championship Series (seven straight). The World Series would retain its usual two off days (after Games 2 and 5).

While I understand the idea of wanting to reduce time spent in any location that isn’t home, this seems like a recipe for disaster for teams that reach the championship series. Then again, maybe it will all be perfectly fine because it more closely mimics the regular season and forces teams to really use their entire rosters rather than just burning out two or three relievers.

Brandon Morrow says hi.

Expect to get official word and full details soon.


Update: MLB has officially announced the settings and dates for the playoffs, which will begin on Tuesday, September 29. The World Series will start on Tuesday, October 20 in Arlington. The second tweet below has screenshots showing dates and broadcasts for every game of the entire postseason.

 

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