MLB, players union reach a postseason agreement that features neutral-site bubbles

Major League Baseball and the players union have reached an agreement to play all but the first round of the 2020 postseason at neutral-site bubbles, with the World Series played in Arlington, Texas, a person with direct knowledge of the agreement told USA TODAY Sports.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because MLB has not made an announcement.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday the league has left open the possibility of playing the World Series, and perhaps the American League Championship Series and National League Championship Series, with fans in the stands for the first time this season. The 60-game regular season has been played without fans in any stadium amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Frankie Montas (47) pitches in the first inning during a game at the Texas Rangers in Arlington. (Photo: Matt Strasen, AP)

The playoffs will open with the three division winners and the team with the next-best record in each league hosting a best-of-three series. The AL postseason will be played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Petco Park in San Diego for the two-division series, with Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, hosting the best-of-seven ALCS.

The NL postseason will be played at Globe Life Field in Arlington, and Minute Maid Park in Houston. The NLCS will be played at Globe Life Field, which opened this year, with the winner staying put for the World Series beginning Oct. 20.

Manfred said Monday night while speaking to the Hofstra business school that it's possible fans would be permitted to attend playoff games for the League Championship Series and the World Series.

“I'm hopeful that the World Series and the LCS we will have limited fan capacity,’’ Manfred said to the school, according to the Athletic. “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."

Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale

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