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MLB bubble playoffs could become a reality

Following the success the NBA and NHL have had in containing COVID-19 outbreaks, the MLB may consider a similar bubble approach for the playoffs.
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 13: First base bag with the Arizona Diamondbacks logo before a MLB game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 13, 2015 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Darin Wallentine/Getty Images)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — MLB bubble playoffs? It could become a reality as we inch closer to toward the postseason. This past week, we've heard rumblings of MLB officials talking behind the scenes about it as an option after the success the NHL has seen with its bubble.

10 Tampa Bay reached out to the MLB to ask if it was considering a bubble and, if so, where? We're still waiting to hear back; but with NBA teams living and playing at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney in Orlando, could Florida be an option? We asked St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman for his thoughts.

"As far as major league baseball it's critical to see what their plan is and how they will create a safe environment for our community. If they come up with a plan I am comfortable with and addressed those things then certainly it would be acceptable," Mayor Kriseman said.

But instead of the NBA's bubble format, ESPN says the NHL's would fit better staying with 16 playoff teams. The league would need at least three places to play its wild-card round. And then go down to a two-hub format for the division series. Their best guess on locations included Southern California, Chicago and New York.

MLB may also be looking to the NHL for bubble advice simply because of the success the hockey league has had in limiting outbreaks. Unlike the recent rash of cases the MLB has seen in St. Louis with the Cardinals and in Miami with the Marlins.

Currently, the MLB operations manual requires contract tracing, daily temperature checks and action plans for those who test positive. As of July 30, it also requires every team to travel with a compliance officer. But there are no set rules for what players must do outside the ballpark, instead relying on an honor system that they themselves are responsible for. It's something the Rays player union rep Tyler Glasnow says players need to respect.

"Everyone understands that it's our responsibility to be responsible and not go out and meet all these random people. I think we all understand we have to make sacrifices for the next 203 months. It'll be just going between home and the field and back again and we just have to abide by those rules," Glasnow said. 

As interest grows in what MLB will do about its playoffs, we'll continue tracking what decisions they make and how it impacts the community and players.

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