Last week, Major League Baseball announced that the bulk of the 2020 postseason will take place in bubbles at neutral locations to help prevent further exposure to COVID-19.
In addition to expanding the format from five teams per league to eight, the plan isn't sitting well with everyone. New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge thinks it devalues winning in the regular season.
"I'm not a fan of it, not a fan of the bubble, not a fan of the whole setup," Judge said, according to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. "Like I said before, it doesn't really reward a team for going out and winning. There's really no home-field advantage anymore. If you're telling me whoever is in first place can win as many games they want, but they're only going to get ... those first three games, that little series at home, that's it, then I am a not a fan of that."
Under the new playoff format, the opening round of the postseason will feature best-of-three series with the higher seed hosting all three games. Afterward, the remaining teams will travel to neutral locations, with the ALDS split between San Diego and Los Angeles and the NLDS played at Houston and Arlington.
It's not just the crapshoot nature of the format that irks Judge, but the added isolation of the bubble.
"To kind of be put into a bubble before the playoffs and during the whole thing, I felt we've kind of already been doing that this whole season and now we're all kind of getting taken away from our families to go do this," Judge said. "I am not a fan of it. So we'll see how it plays out. It's not gonna change how we approach it, what we want to do and what we want to accomplish in the year, but … I'm not a fan."
After the Yankees' season-worst five-game losing streak in early September dropped them to third in the AL East, the Bronx Bombers have erupted for eight straight victories while also seeing Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gio Urshela return from stints on the injured list.
The Yankees trail the Tampa Bay Rays by 3 1/2 games in the division with 10 games left on the schedule. Based on Judge's criticisms of the postseason format, there may not be much incentive beyond pride to pursue the division crown.