As Major League Baseball continues to work out the logistics of a postseason bubble, commissioner Rob Manfred went as far as to suggest that fans could potentially attend games this October.
Manfred, in an online event hosted by Hofstra University on Monday, confirmed plans to play the final three rounds in a bubble with the final two rounds possibly consisting of limited capacity crowds.
“I’m hopeful that the World Series and the LCS we will have limited fan capacity,” he said, per MLB Insider Evan Drellich.”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.”
The NFL had two stadiums with a limited number of fans in Kansas City and Jacksonville in its opening weekend with more planning to follow suit as the season progresses while others have firmly come out against having any fans at all.
MLB is currently working out details to hold the postseason bubble – which would have the American League play in southern California and National League play in Texas while Globe Life Field in Dallas would host the World Series.
The first round – a best of three series – is still currently being planned to be played at the home ballpark of the higher seed.
“Again, I hope for the postseason, we’ll have some limited fan presence in ballparks,” he reiterated. “I think it would be a good thing just in terms of getting people used to the idea being back in the ballpark, and again, I think the trick in terms of what’s going to happen next year, it’s dependent on the virus. The virus controls and it’s ‘do you have a vaccine? Are we still seeing spikes?’ That’s going to drive what local governments are going to allow us to do.”
Manfred added that the health experts MLB consults with expect a vaccine to be widely available by spring training 2021.
“What our experts are telling us is that they expect by the time we resume play in the spring, we will have a widely distributed vaccine,” he said. “I hope they’re right about that.”