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Passan: Phoenix a backup plan if wildfires impact MLB playoffs

The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Seattle Mariners play during the fifth inning of a baseball game in an empty Chase Field, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Phoenix area could host Major League Baseball playoff games if wildfires threaten them due to poor air quality, reports ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Arizona is viewed as the “primary” backup plan for any games that must be moved, though things are far from decided upon, Passan said.

The first round for the expanded 16-team playoffs will begin Sept. 29. The best-of-three opening round of the postseason — expanded from 10 teams — will be hosted by the top-seeded teams.

MLB announced Tuesday that the American League Division Series will take place in San Diego at the Padres’ Petco Park and Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium. The American League Championship Series will be at Petco Park.

Wildfires burning on the West Coast have caused air quality problems in California, Oregon and the state of Washington.

Four teams in California — Giants, A’s, Dodgers and Padres — are in the playoff picture as of Tuesday morning. The Seattle Mariners (22-26) and Los Angeles Angels (20-28) are currently out of the picture but remain in contention for the postseason.

Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles were among the top-five cities in the world in terms of worst air quality Tuesday, according to IQAir.com. The poor air quality in Seattle led to a postponement of a game between the Mariners and San Francisco Giants.

Air quality in the Bay Area posted above 200 on the air quality index (AQI) scale on Friday and threatened the National Football League game between the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals. It went ahead on Sunday with readings below 200. The NFL has protocols to not play with an AQI above 200.

MLB does not have such rules but is considering setting a limit, according to the SFChronicle’s Susan Slusser.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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