After a surprisingly (at least publicly) undramatic negotiation process during which Major League Baseball and the Players Association agreed on how to proceed with a bubble format so the 2020 postseason can be played more safely amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league faces another hurdle: the West Coast wildfires.
The blazes have drastically lowered the air quality in several West Coast cities, including Seattle, prompting the postponement of a Tuesday night game between the San Francisco and Seattle Mariners. Under the MLB's plan, there'd be no games at Seattle's SafeCo Field in the playoffs — unless the Mariners make a miraculous run in the final days of the season and somehow win the American League West — but there will be games in Los Angeles and San Diego.
Southern California's air quality is not as dangerous as the Pacific Northwest right now and figuring out where to play baseball games is not the most pressing issue as the U.S. faces simultaneous biological and environmental crises, but MLB's predicament does magnify the issue.
If it's not safe to play games in Southern California, ESPN's Jeff Passan reports, it looks like Phoenix, which is home to the Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as numerous spring training sites, is emerging as baseball's backup plan.
While no plan is set in stone, the Phoenix area has emerged as the primary backup option if MLB needs to move any of its postseason games on account of air-quality problems, sources told ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 15, 2020