Rob Manfred Not Optimistic About MLB Playing Full 162-Game Season

Today should have been Opening Day for every team in Major League Baseball

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred at a press conference.
Bob Levey/Getty Images
By Evan Bleier / March 26, 2020 11:09 am

In an interview with ESPN that took place the night before Major League Baseball would have opened its season if it hadn’t been postponed due to coronavirus, commissioner Rob Manfred indicated he was not very optimistic MLB would be able to play its full season in 2020.

While Manfred did say that “baseball will be back” and “will be part of the recovery,” the commissioner stopped short of saying MLB would be able to play its full 162-game season.

“My optimistic outlook is that at some point in May we’ll be gearing back up. We’ll have to make a determination depending on what the precise date is as to how much of a preparation period we need,” Manfred said. “Whenever it’s safe to play, we’ll be back.”

Based on Manfred’s optimistic projection, it seems possible MLB could have its new Opening Day sometime around June 1. Were that to happen, a substantial amount of the schedule would still be able to be salvaged. And, for a league that has had trouble attracting fans at ballparks and viewers on television, perhaps less would actually be more.

In order to fit in as much baseball as possible regardless of the timeline, Manfred said all options are on the table and that measures such as playing regular doubleheaders, shortening games to seven innings and holding the World Series in late November are being considered.

“We’ve had some really positive conversations with our players’ association about relaxing some of the rules that govern our schedule,” Manfred said. “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.”

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