As coronavirus (COVID-19) cases surged across the country in March, the 2020 MLB season came to a grinding halt. The final two weeks of Spring Training were cancelled and the start of the regular season was indefinitely delayed.
Over the coming months, the league and the union attempted to figure out the logistics of a potential season starting in the summer. The two sides could not agree to an economic plan, prompting MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to unilaterally impose a 60-game season.
Unlike the NBA and NHL, which saw their respective seasons resume in bubbles, MLB allowed teams to travel and play opponents at their regular home ballparks. This came on the heels of considering a bubble plan that would’ve been based in Southern California.
During a recent appearance on MLB Network, Manfred defended the decision, noting that a bubble plan would have been too difficult to pull off:
“I think the decision we made with respect to the bubble was the right one. We’re different than other sports. We would’ve had to have multiple locations, probably, just to have enough facilities to make it work. The number of people involved, number of people to support, and number of players was much, much larger in our sport. The duration would’ve been much longer. And the longer you go, the more people you have, the less likely it is you can make the bubble work.
“I think the NBA and NHL have an advantage with smaller numbers of players, shorter period of time. I understand why they did what they did, I’m just not sure it was workable for us.”
In effort to reduce long-distance traveling, MLB teams were limited to playing regional opponents during the shortened regular season. Moreover, fans were not permitted to any games.
While multiple clubs experienced coronavirus outbreaks — leading to week-long layoffs in some cases — it ultimately wasn’t enough to derail the year.
MLB shifted course in postseason by opting for bubble plan
Despite abandoning a bubble plan for the regular season, MLB changed course for the playoffs. Beginning with the Division League Series, teams had to report to a designated bubble site.
The four ballparks that hosted games were Globe Life Field and Minute Maid Park in Texas, and Dodger Stadium and Petco Park in Southern California.
The Los Angeles Dodgers ended their championship drought by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series at Globe Life Field.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our shows, and more!