A Look Inside the MLB Bubble

This week, I have had the unique opportunity to assist, on a very small scale, with the execution of the MLB playoff bubble operation. My sole responsibility is to be stationed in a *fancy* (see above) hotel lobby and ensure that no players, coaches, staff or family members violate the rules of the bubble. These rules include mask-wearing in common spaces, social distancing, and leaving the hotel for anything other than exercise and other approved activities (like going to the stadium to play).

For those uninitiated to the MLB’s bubble plan, the enacted plan is this: once the playoffs begin next week (9/28), a similar idea to the current NBA/NHL bubbles will begin. All playoff teams will have to stay in their hotels and are not permitted to leave unless for a team activity or approved outdoor exercise. For the entirety of the MLB’s regular season, no such plan has existed, as all personnel have been able to come and go from homes, hotels, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. as much as they would like.

During this last week of the regular season, for all MLB teams that have not already been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, these bubbles are currently being enforced for all team personnel and their families if those family members choose to do so. Any family members who choose not to participate in the bubble, which is located in a separate hotel from the players until the playoffs begin, will not be able to be with the players once the official playoff bubble begins.

The MLB’s current operation orders at least two hotels for every team - one in the home city for family members, and one wherever the team is playing. For instance, the Orioles are playing in Boston tonight, so there are three hotels in Boston that are in use for the bubble - one for the Red Sox families, one for the Red Sox team, and one for the Orioles team. Meanwhile, back in Baltimore, there is one more hotel in use for Orioles families.

These hotels are being covered around the clock, 24/7, in 12-hour shifts by people like me who may or may not also be writing about their experiences at 4:00am. This whole process has come together with an unbelievable amount of hiccups, but it is simply impossible to imagine the amount of work that has gone into creating this entire league-wide operation. It has been a very interesting experience so far!

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