Petco Park

‘2020' Is the Only Explanation for MLB's Cross-Country Playoff Plans

SoCal teams head to Texas; East Coast teams head to San Diego

NBC Universal, Inc.

Because 2020 hasn’t been weird enough, here comes the Major League Baseball playoffs.

The top two Southern California baseball teams are playing a best-of-five series in Arlington, Texas. Likewise, two teams from the East Coast are playing their series in San Diego.

Yup. 2020.

“It’s crazy. It’s a wild time,” said Ryan Hayes, a Philadelphia native on vacation in San Diego. “I am a fake Padres fan.”

On Friday night, the San Diego Padres won their first playoff series since 1998. Instead of playing any more games at Petco Park, the Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers traveled to Texas for their National League Divisional Series, which begins Tuesday. Instead, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are playing their American League Divisional Series in San Diego.

“I don’t know who’s setting the venues for these things,” said Johnny Blackwell, a San Diego resident but diehard Yankees fan. “Yankee fans, we’re everywhere, baby. Yankees fans are everywhere!”

With a need to play baseball safely, MLB created bubbles for playoff teams to play on neutral fields and remain safe from COVID-19. Padres fans waited 22 years to see their team back in the playoffs, only to see them shipped off to the Lone Star State.

“It’s kind of sad, you know?” said Padres fan Jack Tellez, who coaches a softball team in Alpine. “What can you possibly do? You’re held hostage.”

Jody and David Foushee would not let the pandemic ruin their mood. Their son Brent “Maverick” Phillips is playing for the top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays.

“I’m so proud of him,” said Mom.

Theirs were some of the few baseball hats around Petco Park that didn’t feature the familiar “SD.”

Blackwell said he always wears his Yankees hat, but he’ll be checking over his shoulder if the Padres and Yankees meet in the World Series, which would be also played in Arlington, Texas.

“It depends on how wild the Padres fans are -- I don’t want to be the only one running around with a Yankees hat,” Blackwell said, laughing.

Yup. 2020.

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