Globe Life Park, the new home of the Texas Rangers, could host the World Series in a proposal from Major League Baseball to use a bubble format in the playoffs. Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

MLB and the Players’ Association are close to settling on a format for the 2020 postseason, with playoff bubbles in Southern California and Texas, but the last remaining hang-up – the league’s insistence that players’ families quarantine for seven days before being allowed into the bubble – is proving to be a thorny issue without a simple solution.

Under MLB’s plan for an expanded, 16-team postseason, the eight best-of-three, wild-card-round series would take place at the home stadiums of the higher seeds, before the eight survivors enter the neutral-site bubbles, according to a person familiar with those discussions.

The four American League teams would then contest the Division Series and ALCS at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and Petco Park in San Diego – with Angel Stadium in Anaheim also under consideration – and the National League playoffs would be played at Houston’s Minute Maid Park and the Texas Rangers’ new stadium, Globe Life Field, in Arlington, Texas. The World Series would then take place at Globe Life Field.

However, after playing the entire, 60-game regular season outside a controlled bubble environment – with many players living at home with their families – MLB wants to switch to a controlled bubble format for the postseason, in part to protect that lucrative franchise, which generated $787 million in revenues last year, from a calamitous coronavirus outbreak. Revenues could be even higher this year, under the expanded format, and the union also negotiated a $50 million bonus pool for players on playoff teams.

Under this proposal, players on contending teams would move into hotels in the final week of the regular season to begin quarantining ahead of the opening of the two bubbles. The league also wants players’ family members to quarantine for seven days before joining players in the playoff bubbles, which is similar to how the NBA and NHL has operated.

However, the stipulation regarding family members has reportedly rankled many players, who argue baseball is trying to change the rules in midstream after a mostly successful regular season played outside a bubble. Outbreaks sidelined the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals for long stretches earlier this season, but the sport has not seen a major outbreak since and has not reported a single case of coronavirus in more than a week and a half.

“We finish the last week of our season at home. I’d be at my house with my wife,” Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner told the Athletic. The Dodgers have not seen a positive test since the initial intake testing prior to the opening of summer camps. “Then they’re like, ‘We’ve got to separate you guys.’ I don’t understand why she should be quarantined. I lived with her the whole season.”

In the agreement between MLB and the union regarding the health and safety protocols for the 2020 season, MLB retains the right to institute additional measures for the postseason – with the union’s consent.

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