John Raoux/Associated Press
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is optimistic about the potential for the league to welcome back fans for the final two rounds of the playoffs.
The Athletic’s Evan Drellich shared Manfred’s comments during an online event for the Hofstra University business school:
“I’m hopeful that the World Series and the LCS we will have limited fan capacity. I think it’s important for us to start back down the road. Obviously it’ll be limited numbers, socially distanced, protection provided for the fans in terms of temperature checks and the like. Kind of the pods like you saw in some of the NFL games. We’ll probably use that same theory. But I do think it’s important as we look forward to 2021 to get back to the idea that live sports, they’re generally outdoors, at least our games. And it’s something that we can get back to.”
MLB is staging games in empty stadiums for the regular season, with Manfred explaining the league’s agreements with individual home cities were largely made with the idea fans would be prohibited.
As he referenced, that isn’t the case with the NFL, which allowed franchises to set attendance limits based on local and state guidelines. The same is true for universities taking part in the fall 2020 college football season.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported Friday that MLB is in the last stages of a plan to move its postseason to a bubble-like atmosphere the NBA, NHL and WNBA currently utilize.
The National League Division Series would be in Houston and Arlington, Texas, with the American League Division Series in San Diego and Los Angeles. The NL and AL Championship Series would be in Arlington and San Diego, respectively, with Globe Life Field hosting the World Series.
Locking in the venues now would make it easier for MLB to configure attendance caps and presumably allow for the venues to take care of whatever logistics are required for the protocols to which Manfred alluded.
According to Passan, MLB’s plan is awaiting final approval from the MLB Players Association.
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