Both top seeds "sweep" their opponents while all 3 AL Central teams lose their respective matchups in 3 games. The Twins prove they're still choke artists after going up one game on Houston, the White Sox prove they're still too young to take on a more experienced Oakland team, and the Yankees score too many runs for Cleveland to keep up. Meanwhile, in the NL, the Padres handle the Cardinals, the Cubs take care of the Marlins, and the Reds manage to outpitch the Braves, who get bounced in the first round like they have every year since I can remember.
Four divisional matchups in which the higher seed wins all of them. The Rays continue to own the Yankees. The A's send the underwhelming Astros home. For the first time since 2016, Houston fails to make the pennant, and Twitter has a field day with the trash can jokes. The Dodgers beat the Padres in a nail biter of a series. The Cubs, on the other hand, make quick work of the Reds in a series that isn't particularly close.
The 2 poorest teams in the AL face off in a meaningless pennant that small market fans around the nation attempt to legitimize, solely based on who's playing. The Rays win because the A's always lose in the playoffs, but the bigger impact is that it turns fans of teams like the Brewers and the Orioles and the Pirates and the Royals into fans of this new expanded playoff format because they think it will maybe help their chances of contending for a title. The continued dialogue becomes the biggest topic of the offseason. The headlines about the 16-team bracket format will outnumber the articles about the universal DH rule, the new extra innings rule, even the 2017 Astros investigation that took place last year. Rob Manfred and MLB will continue to divert attention from the botched job they did, in hopes that all will be forgotten by the time fans return to the ballparks.
Meanwhile, in the NL, Yu Darvish becomes virtually unhittable while Clayton Kershaw loses yet another postseason start because Dave Roberts left him in just one inning too long... again. The Cubs ride the momentum from Game 1 to a series victory causing Andrew Friedman to finally lose his patience with Dave Roberts. The Dodgers GM goes on to ultimately fire his manager in November, at which point the Red Sox promptly swoop in and hire him to fill the managerial vacancy in Boston.
The Rays win their first *World Series* because nobody benefits from playing in empty stadiums like Tampa Bay. The MVP of the series is somebody we've never heard of before, and he winds up getting traded to St. Louis in the offseason.
After boasting about what a great accomplishment this is for the city of Tampa Bay and the owners make a show out of thanking the fans for their support and suckering them into buying tons of pathetic "2020 World Champs" gear, news leaks of the franchise's plans to move to Nashville in 2023 right before Opening Day. The team is greeted to a chorus of boos when they receive their rings at the home opener. The banner that gets raised is eventually vandalized by a local Yankees fan (don't ask me how he got up there) and we all look back on the 2020 MLB season and laugh at what a joke it turned out to be.