UPDATE: The World Series starts Tuesday: 5 things you need to know about baseball's 'pandemic championship'
By Weston Blasi
A certain number of fans will be allowed at this year's World Series
The 2020 World Series teams have been set.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Rays will meet in a World Series matchup after one of the strangest baseball seasons in history.
Major League Baseball's season usually has 162 games, but this year it was trimmed down to just 60 due to the coronavirus. Many speculated that a shorter season could add a greater element of randomness to the game.
The Rays and Dodgers were among the preseason favorites (https://dknation.draftkings.com/2020/6/29/21306867/mlb-win-totals-odds-2020-lines-over-under-diamondbacks-dodgers-yankees-astros) to win the championship this year and also finished the year with the two best records in baseball.
As Major League Baseball is set to begin it's championship, here's what you need to know about this year's World Series amid the coronavirus pandemic:
While both teams are among the league's best on the field, the Los Angeles Dodgers are paying significantly more money to its players than Tampa Bay.
The Dodgers' club payroll for this year is $107 million, while the Rays have a payroll of just $28 million, according to spotrac.com. (https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/payroll)These figures are prorated for the shorter season.
See also: Hot mic picks up World Series announcer Joe Buck and dissing NFL pregame flyover (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/hot-mic-picks-up-joe-buck-and-troy-aikman-dissing-nfl-pregame-flyover-11603222946?mod=home-page)
This large payroll gap is the 5th largest (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-massive-payroll-disparity-of-the-2016-world-series/) among World Series matchups since 2000.
Big-name Dodgers players like Clayton Kershaw and Mookie Betts have a combined prorated salary of $26.3 million, which is nearly the entire payroll for the Rays.
World Series players and coaches will be in a 'bubble'
When the NBA restarted its season at the World World of Sports Complex in Disney (DIS), it had strict quarantine rules: no visitors and no fans in attendance.
The World Series will have a bubble for players and coaches, but some fans will be allowed to attend.
See also: Amazon expands its NFL 'Thursday Night Football' programming -- will the e-commerce giant buy more NFL rights? (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/amazon-expands-its-nfl-thursday-night-football-programmingcould-the-e-commerce-giant-buy-more-nfl-rights-11602177095?mod=weston-blasi)
Players and coaching staffs are staying at designated hotels where they must remain unless traveling to and from the ballpark. Family members are not permitted for on-site visits for the duration of the World Series. There will be 24-hour surveillance at the hotel to ensure all safety protocols are being followed.
"We fully recognize that the process places significant burdens on clubs, club staff, players and their families," MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem said in a memo to teams (https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/columnist/bob-nightengale/2020/09/15/mlb-union-reach-postseason-deal-features-neutral-site-bubbles/5803119002/).
Unlike other seasons, when each team hosts some of the World Series games, this year all games will be played at a neutral site, Globe Life Field in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers. Globe Life Field is a brand new ballpark, and it's somewhat customary for sports leagues to want to show off new stadiums shortly after they are built.
During the regular season, the MLB was forced to postpone over 40 games due to positive COVID-19 tests among players and team staff.
Some fans will be in attendance
A certain number of fans will be permitted to attend this year's World Series. This is different from the NBA bubble, which didn't permit fans to be in attendance.
MLB is allowing 11,500 fans into the stands at Globe Life Park which is roughly 28% of its total capacity. Of those seats, 950 will be luxury suites that will be sold in "pods" of four (https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/30011224/mlb-allowing-limited-number-fans-nlcs-world-series-arlington-texas).
Fans must socially distance while at the game, and masks are mandatory unless they are eating or drinking.
This year's average price of a World Series ticket on the secondary market is 31% lower than last year's, a representative from ticket search firm TicketIQ told MarketWatch.
See also: 'Everybody is struggling' -- how Olympic athletes are coping with Tokyo 2020 being postponed a year (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/everybody-is-struggling-how-olympic-athletes-are-coping-with-tokyo-2020-being-postponed-a-year-11602088852?mod=weston-blasi)
Globe Life Field has a retractable roof and the games will be played with the roof open (https://twitter.com/ThreeTwoEephus/status/1316900121649565696?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1316900121649565696%7Ctwgr%5Eshare_3%2Ccontainerclick_1&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cbssports.com%2Fmlb%2Fnews%2Fdodgers-vs-braves-heres-why-globe-life-field-roof-was-open-during-windy-nlcs-game-4%2F), unless there is inclement weather conditions, according to Major League Baseball. This is important because indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/deciding-to-go-out.html) for virus transmission, according to the CDC.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are favored to win
The Los Angeles Dodgers are favorites to win the World Series over the Rays according to the oddsmakers.
At DraftKings (DKNG) sportsbook, the Dodgers are -200, which carries an implied probability of 66.7% and the Rays are +160, which carries an implied probability of 38.5%.
For those not familiar with oddsmaking, a "-" symbol indicates a favorite and a "+" symbol indicates an underdog. For example, a $100 bet placed on a +160 side would net a $160 profit, in addition to getting back the original $100. For favorites, it would take a $200 bet to win $100 on something with the odds -200.
Most projection systems also favor the Dodgers. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Dodgers have a 69% chance of winning the World Series (https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2020-mlb-predictions/).
How to watch the World Series
The best-of-seven World Series will air on FOX (FOXA).
Even though the games will be played at a neutral site ballpark, Major League Baseball has awarded the Dodgers home field advantage because they had a better record during the regular season.
The dates and times of the World Series are listed below. Games 5-7 are not guaranteed to take place.
Game 1: Rays @ Dodgers, Tuesday, October 20, 8:09 p.m.
Game 2: Rays @ Dodgers, Wednesday, October 21, 8:08 p.m.
Game 3: Dodgers @ Rays, Friday, October 23, 8:08 p.m.
Game 4: Dodgers @ Rays, Saturday, October 24, 8:08 p.m.
Game 5: Dodgers @ Rays, Sunday, October 25, 8:08 p.m.
Game 6: Rays @ Dodgers, Tuesday, October 27, 8:08 p.m.
Game 7: Rays @ Dodgers, Wednesday, October 28, 8:09 p.m.
-Weston Blasi; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 27, 2020 23:51 ET (03:51 GMT)
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