MLB and the players’ union are moving toward an agreement for the last three rounds of the postseason, with the entire World Series to be played at a neutral site. Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, would stage the World Series as well as the National League Championship Series, two officials with direct knowledge of the negotiations told USA Today.
The officials were granted anonymity because the deal has yet to be finalized.
The only holdup, the officials said, are the details on the health and safety protocols for the proposed bubbles in Texas and Southern California. The bubble format would minimize the chance of coronavirus outbreaks such as the ones that shut down the Marlins and Cardinals.
The sides are still trying to reach an agreement to provide accommodations for family members at neutral sites. MLB is requesting that family members be isolated for seven days before joining players in their hotels, the same requirements the NBA and NHL employed for their postseason rounds.
The family members, once isolated, would be permitted to join the players in their hotels for the Division Series or the LCS. If not quarantined, they could still be at the World Series as guests of MLB, according to the Athletic, but would be unable to stay at the team hotels.
The Dodgers are one of the teams that have pushed back on the idea of implementing protocols, union representative Justin Turner told the Athletic, preventing players from being with their families for the first best-of-three round during the playoffs.
The bubble format is designed to safeguard against an outbreak that would disrupt the postseason, which is worth at least $787 million in TV money. The extra round of playoffs this year, league officials said, would repay ESPN for their missed network games during the regular season. There’s also a $50 million playoff pool for the players.
The playoffs will open with the three division winners and the team with the next-best record in each league hosting best-of-three series. If the postseason started Thursday, the Rays, Athletics, White Sox and Indians would host the first round in the American League. The Dodgers, Braves, Cubs and Padres would host the NL first-round games.
It will be the last time anyone can potentially have home-field advantage.
The AL postseason will shift to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Petco Park in San Diego for the two division series, with Petco Park, home of the Padres, hosting the best-of-seven ALCS.
The NL postseason will be played at Globe Life Field and Minute Maid Park in Houston. The NLCS will be played exclusively at Globe Life Field, which opened this year, with the winner staying put for the World Series.