Globe Life Field to be neutral host for MLB World Series

Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced that Globe Life Field, the new home of the Texas Rangers, will be the location for the first World Series played entirely at one site since 1944.

MLB has revealed its schedule for the 2020 postseason, which is set to open with the American League’s inaugural Wild Card Series on September 29 and the National League’s first Wild Card Series openers on September 30.  

In the first neutral site Fall Classic in modern history, Game One of the 2020 World Series is set for October 20 at Globe Life Field in Arlington.  A potential Game Seven has been scheduled for October 28.

MLB’s 2020 season was due to have commenced on March 26, but in June it was announced that it would consist of a 60-game regular season leading into the playoffs. The regular season was due to have 162 games over 186 days, and the new schedule, which commenced on July 23, is MLB’s shortest since 1878 as sports leagues continue to grapple with the fallout from COVID-19.

Globe Life Field’s World Series will be the first played entirely at one site since 1944, when the Cardinals defeated the Browns 4-2 at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, a ballpark which both teams shared.

“The elimination of travel is obviously a positive because it cuts exposure,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told the Associated Press news agency. “Less interaction outside with the group that you’re looking to protect is a huge positive. It’s all about what the risk of interacting with the community is.”

Rob Matwick, the Rangers’ executive vice-president for business operations, told the club’s official website: “From an organisation standpoint, with owners Neil Liebman and Ray Davis, we built a fantastic building.

“It is now an opportunity for us to show it off to more people; hopefully, fans, but if not, the eyes of the nation and the eyes of the world will be on Arlington and Globe Life Field for the 116th World Series.

“And that, in and of itself, is a great compliment to our organisation with great thanks to commissioner Manfred and his team for being willing to make the commitment to us and to believe in us. We’re the newest, and we believe we are the best ballpark in Major League Baseball.”

The State of Texas currently allows up to 50% capacity for sporting events. While MLB has yet to announce whether fans will be allowed to attend postseason games, officials are hopeful that fans can go to Globe Life Field, with a 50% limit equating to around 20,000 fans per game.

“We hope we can have fans,” said Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams. “But we’ve learned throughout (the pandemic) we need to look at what is happening and respond accordingly. I’m sure we will wait to see how things are going with this virus.”

All best-of-three Wild Card Series will be played at the regular season home ballparks of each league’s top four seeds. Then, beginning with the Division Series, clubs will shift to neutral site locations for the duration of the postseason due to health, safety and competitive considerations. 

American League games from the Division Series forward will be held in Los Angeles and San Diego – Dodger Stadium and Petco Park – and National League games from the Division Series forward will be played in Arlington and Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.

Image: Texas Rangers