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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Sources: MLB has preliminary talks about bubble-type format for playoffs

Major League Baseball has had preliminary discussions about holding its postseason in a bubble-type format after the coronavirus outbreaks on the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins that wreaked havoc on the regular-season schedule illustrated how a similar scenario could upend the playoffs, sources familiar with the conversations told ESPN.

Although a fully contained bubble similar to the NBA setup at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, would be difficult for MLB to replicate, a multicity format that replicates the NHL’s Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta, hubs has gained traction, sources said.

Because of MLB’s expansion to 16 playoff teams, the league would need at least three hubs to complete its wild-card round before shrinking to a two-hub format for the division series. The league championship series and World Series could be held at one or two stadiums. Remaining in one metropolitan area would allow teams to avoid air travel and perhaps remain at a single hotel for the entire postseason, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 27.

Southern California, the greater Chicago area and the New York metropolitan area would make the most sense because of the available stadiums, sources said. Concerns about weather in late September and deep into October make the Los Angeles area the most logical choice to host an entire postseason, though the sources cautioned that because of the nascent nature of discussions, no favorite has emerged.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 11, 2020 at 08:39 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: coronavirus

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   1. KronicFatigue Posted: August 11, 2020 at 09:29 AM (#5969006)
I don't think bubble means what MLB thinks it means. Also, pretty ridiculous to expand playoffs at the last minute with the caveat being the better record gets more home games and then wipe that out too.
   2. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: August 11, 2020 at 09:34 AM (#5969008)
I was thinking about this last night. The bubble makes a ton of sense and hopefully for the playoffs is a bit more reasonable for the players and staff involved. Since they are playing without fans it's not a big deal to play at a neutral site and of course that helps with weather issues.
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 11, 2020 at 09:37 AM (#5969009)
Also, pretty ridiculous to expand playoffs at the last minute with the caveat being the better record gets more home games and then wipe that out too.


Agree, but having last at-bat would still be a pretty good advantage.
   4. John Northey Posted: August 12, 2020 at 01:52 AM (#5969177)
Last at bat helps a lot. Bubble is a great idea, southern California would give the Dodgers, LAA, and SD parks all close together, plus SF/Oak and Arizona not far away. So up to 6 parks that could be used reasonably easily with minimal travel. Central gives you Chicago (2 parks) and Milwaukee all tight together with Minnesota not too far away although weather becomes a big issue there.

For total safety the ideal solution is going to Toronto like the NHL did and lock them up in the hotel there and use the park and quarantine could easily be done with that. Trick would be getting permission from the Canadian government as we are very picky up here - Ontario (over 14 million people) had just 33 cases on Sunday and often is under 100 now (all but 1 out of the last 8 days) so we are avoiding Americans as much as possible (like you guys have the plague one could say). FYI: mandatory mask rules in place in most of the province and even where it isn't you see nearly everyone wearing one in stores.

Sadly MLB would want every game in prime time which can't be done with just 1 park. So Southern California is probably the best bet. 2 games a day per park (3 PM and 8 PM locally, 6 and 11 eastern). With 16 teams you need up to 8 games a day so 4 parks ideally. Divide it up so rounds 1 and 2 are in the same park - IE: seeds 1/8, 4/5 in park A, 2/7, 3/6 in park B - AL in 2 parks (Anaheim/LA maybe), NL in 2 other ones (SD/Arizona). That could work and avoids weather issues while minimizing travel. Could spread it out and use domes (Seattle, Houston, Toronto, Miami, Milwaukee) to be safe on weather. A lot depends on how bad COVID is by then too. I hold little hope for the US on it until a vaccine is found (why is wearing a mask so bloody hard down there?).
   5. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 12, 2020 at 02:09 AM (#5969179)
plus SF/Oak and Arizona not far away.
Once you extend it to that, NY to DC gives 5 parks in about half the distance from SF to SD.
   6. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: August 12, 2020 at 08:23 AM (#5969189)
The problem with the northeast corridor is the word "north." If you are going to try and squeeze this in not having rainouts is kind of important and while it can rain in California I suspect it is considerably less likely to have inclement weather there than it is in New York.

On the practical side I suspect having as many games as possible in one state is useful also. There doesn't seem to be much of difficulty in crossing state lines but particularly as we get to October toward November I'd want to have myself set up to not worry about such things as the "second wave" potentially hits.
   7. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: August 12, 2020 at 10:08 AM (#5969224)
You don't need to play in MLB venues if you have no fans. Why wouldn't Phoenix work, using the ST facilities?
   8. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: August 12, 2020 at 10:19 AM (#5969232)
You don't need to play in MLB venues if you have no fans. Why wouldn't Phoenix work, using the ST facilities?
I would imagine that part of this would be the optics, they won't look as "real" for consequential games. But I agree they *should* be thinking that way.
   9. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: August 12, 2020 at 11:12 AM (#5969246)
Sadly MLB would want every game in prime time which can't be done with just 1 park.


I know they want this, but the playoffs have never been this way. They've always spread the first round out when they've got four games per day so that each game has as little overlap as possible. The NHL has been doing this with their playoffs and it's been fantastic. I don't know what the results are, ratings-wise, but I have loved being able to put NHL playoff games on my computer at my desk all day long.

Still, I think they'll probably want two parks per location, so you can have one park ready to go as soon as the previous game is over at the first park. And then the grounds crew works to get the first park ready for the next game while game two is going on at park two. You could try to get it done with one park, but it would be almost impossible during the first round of the playoffs where you've got four games per league each day. You'd have to start game one at 8 am and hope none of them go four hours, which is a pretty vain hope for playoff games in this day and age.
   10. RoyalFlush Posted: August 12, 2020 at 01:15 PM (#5969271)
Also, pretty ridiculous to expand playoffs at the last minute with the caveat being the better record gets more home games and then wipe that out too.


The home team can bring their own cardboard cutouts and run the fake crowd noise.
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 12, 2020 at 01:37 PM (#5969277)
In the current environment, it makes sense to avoid being locked-in to any one plan, so MLB should explore all its options. However, having gone this far, I’d be a bit surprised if MLB opted for the Bubble Plan for the playoffs. MLB could probably wait to ~ mid-September to make a decision, although they’d need to start contingency planning now.
   12. Zonk paid more than $750 in taxes last paycheck Posted: August 12, 2020 at 05:26 PM (#5969319)
Given the standings and practicality -- fake season or not -- I am rapidly becoming in favor of putting baseball in airtight containers...

There's only 2 teams playing better than .700 ball... and only one of them has chance to make that .800 ball starting in a few minutes.

So, this kind of sucks... I feel almost certain we're not going to get a postseason but with ~1/4 of the year done, the best record in baseball, and the largest division lead of all? Well... fake season or not, it's all we get from the wicked #### beast that is 2020 and I still wish it had some realistic chance of becoming what I fear and expect it has no chance of being.
   13. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 13, 2020 at 09:44 AM (#5969392)
Last at bat helps a lot.


Why do people keep saying this? We just had this discussion a couple weeks ago when the new extra inn format was being announced. There's no empirical evidence that it does.

And even though the home team can do things to max out its chance to score one, the visitors can also push certain strategic buttons in those situations as well. As far as that discussion went, it seems to be a push with no advantage for the home team.

Do you have any reference that supports your contention?
   14. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 13, 2020 at 09:35 PM (#5969540)
bump
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: August 13, 2020 at 10:02 PM (#5969547)
I'm with you Sunday. The BBTF search feature is even worse than it used to be, so you can't even find the recent conversation. But I'm pretty sure there was a study a few years back that said last licks provided no benefit.

   16. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 13, 2020 at 10:35 PM (#5969552)
Mark Pankin Poster Presentation SABR 42 HOW LARGE IS THE ADVANTAGE OF BATTING LAST?

In Search of the “Last-Ups” Advantage in Baseball:A Game-Theoretic Approach Theodore L. Turocy Department of Economics Texas A&M University
   17. Zonk paid more than $750 in taxes last paycheck Posted: August 14, 2020 at 09:11 AM (#5969576)
Sigh.

Now 13-3.

Hilariously, the Cardinals are in 2nd in the NLC -- at 2-3! 5.5 games back, but you know... tied in the loss column.

   18. SoSH U at work Posted: August 14, 2020 at 09:23 AM (#5969578)
but you know... tied in the loss column.


That's the all-important loss column.
   19. Hysterical & Useless Posted: August 14, 2020 at 01:26 PM (#5969614)
Doesn't the team that scores first win the majority of the time? [one of those things I read *somewhere* but am far too lazy to try to research] If so, the team hitting first would seem to have the advantage.

Of course, it could just be that better teams tend to score not only more often but more quickly...

   20. SoSH U at work Posted: August 14, 2020 at 01:40 PM (#5969617)
Doesn't the team that scores first win the majority of the time? [one of those things I read *somewhere* but am far too lazy to try to research] If so, the team hitting first would seem to have the advantage.


The team that scores first does win the majority of the time, but that's because you're spotting that team a lead.

I know neither of those studies are ones I recall seeing here. But as Sunday said, while the home team does go into the bottom of the inning knowing what it has to do and can act accordingly (employ a one-run strategy or not, pinch-hit, pinch run, etc.), the same is true of the defense (IBB someone, play the infield in, etc.). And baseball just isn't a strategy-heavy sport to begin with.

And that's it. There's no structural advantage. You get three outs to work with. So do they.

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