Petco Park To Serve As Neutral MLB Playoff Site
Petco Park will play host to a pair of American League playoff series next month under a schedule announced Tuesday that will culminate with Major League Baseball's first neutral-site World Series, played in Arlington, Texas.
The playoff tournament schedule was formulated in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with an eye toward the "bubble" concept employed by the NBA and NHL aimed at ensuring limited outside interaction with players.
Under the schedule, Petco Park will play host to a best-of-five American League Division Series beginning Oct. 6. The other ALDS series will be played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, beginning Oct. 5.
Both series will be played on five consecutive days.
The winners of the two ALDS series will advance to the best-of-seven American League Championship Series, which will be played at Petco Park beginning Oct. 11, also with no days off between games.
Allie Garibay is the bar manager at Bub’s At The Ballpark. She said that hosting the two playoff series will improve business by bringing foot traffic to the businesses surrounding Petco Park.
“It’s definitely going to be very helpful to us. It’ll extend our summer season and our baseball season,” Garibay said.
For the National League, divisional rounds will be played in Arlington, Texas, and Houston, with the NLCS played in Arlington.
The best-of-seven World Series will be played in Arlington, beginning Oct. 20, with two off days built into the schedule.
The initial round of the MLB playoffs, the best-of-three Wild Card Series, will be played in the home stadium of the higher-seeded team.
Garibay says that fans have been following their teams even without the ability to watch games in stadiums, and they’ve been coming to her bar to cheer on their ball club. She expects the same will continue in the American League playoffs. That being said, there is some worry that fans coming in from other cities and states could potentially spread COVID-19.
“It’s a little worrisome but we are doing our best to stick to the regulations,” Garibay said.
MLB games are being played without fans in attendance due to the coronavirus, but according to The Athletic, league Commissioner Rob Manfred said during an online event Tuesday that he hopes to see some limited attendance at the league's two Championship Series and the World Series. Such attendance would involve social distancing and other protection measures, "in terms of temperature checks and the like," he said.