Would a Cubs-Sox series still be played in Texas? Well, yes
There is an interesting hypothetical for the baseball playoffs, one that seems less preposterous than usual this year.
What if the Cubs play the White Sox in the World Series? Will it still take place in a bubble in Arlington, Texas, as announced Tuesday? Or is there a chance it could be moved to Chicago, where all players could stay at their homes and avoid traveling out of the city?
"You would have to ask the commissioner," Cubs player representative Ian Happ said Wednesday. "But as far as I've heard, everything is set for Arlington, the way the playoffs were announced. If they have any idea about making a change, that would be completely and totally on them and probably a logistical nightmare."
Wednesday's game at Wrigley Field was another tight one. After reliever Jason Adam did a nice job of keeping Cleveland off the board in the top of the 10th, it looked like the Cubs would end it quickly. Kris Bryant singled on the first pitch, sending bonus runner Happ to third. Anthony Rizzo was walked intentionally to load the bases, but then Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber both struck out.
Javy Baez then fell behind 0-2 but drilled the next pitch into left field for the game-winning RBI and a 3-2 Cubs victory, their fourth in a row. This game also featured a brief drone delay in the fifth inning, when the flying object landed in the outfield.
Starting pitcher Jon Lester was fairly sharp, giving up 2 runs and 4 hits in 5 innings. After the game, he talked about how tough it was to pitch, knowing this could potentially be his final start at Wrigley Field. Lester, 36, has a team option for next season, but it's at a $25 million salary, a figure the Cubs will probably pass on.
Lester could conceivably start Game 3 of the first-round playoff series. If the Cubs advance, they'll play the rest of their games in Texas. The NL division series will be in Houston and Arlington, while the NLCS will be played at the Texas Rangers' new Globe Life Field.
The idea is for all teams to stay in a "bubble," although some teams will have to change location once.
"That's how it has to be," Happ said. "To ensure the safety and to make sure guys aren't traveling all over the country, it's the right thing to do. It's the best way to get the playoffs in. There's no home-field advantage to either side. But it's definitely going to be different."
One change from the NBA's Orlando bubble is players' families will be allowed to join them for the entirety of the playoffs.
"There was a lot of discussion back and forth," Happ said. "Obviously, families was a big one. You never want to have to leave people behind. To make sure guys had that option, guys had the ability to be with their loved ones and have their support system was very important from a players' perspective. But there's going to be a lot of challenges.
"Once you're actually in the bubble, the strictness of being in the room or being able to walk around. There's some wording in there having to ask for permission to go on a walk. It feels more like a zoo animal than a baseball player or a human. So I think there's a lot of those challenges that guys are going to face."
Another change is there will be no days off within the first three rounds, since there is no need for the usual travel days. That means teams will need more starting pitchers, though.
"The schedule as far as playing every day and not having a lot of off-days, I think that's a lot more like the regular season," Happ said. "I don't have an issue with that. I know that it's a little bit more on the pitching situation."