MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said that “baseball will be back” and that it “will be part of the recovery,” in an interview on ESPN’s SportsCenter Wednesday night.
However, while he noted that “nothing is off the table” in terms of the league starting its season following a postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic, he also threw cold water on the idea of playing a full season this year.
Opening Day, Take Two
While MLB’s Opening Day was initially scheduled for today, Manfred said that he hopes the league can begin preparing the start of the season at some point in May.
However, he said, that decision will be determined by working with experts.
“Look, my optimistic outlook is that at some point in May, we’ll be gearing back up,” he told ESPN. “We’ll have to make a determination, depending on what the precise date is, as to how much of a preparation period we need, whether that preparation period is going to be done in the clubs’ home cities or back in Florida and Arizona. Again, I think the goal would be to get as many regular-season games as possible and think creatively about how we can accomplish that goal.”
Let’s Play Two
Manfred said that the league would “not be able to do” a full 162-game season. Still, he said the league is willing to experiment and “make sure we provide as many games as possible and as entertaining a product as possible.”
“Nothing is off the table for us right now,” Manfred told ESPN. “I think we are open, and we’ve had some really positive conversations with our players’ association about relaxing some of the rules that govern our schedule. They’re very focused on returning to play and playing as many games as possible. And when you have that kind of positive dialogue, it creates an opportunity to do things that are a little different. You’re not committed to them over the long term because this year is a unique circumstance. But there’s a lot of ideas out there, and we really are open to all of them.”
One of those ideas, Manfred said, could include an increase in doubleheaders. MLB may also look to hold a neutral-site World Series in a warm-weather city.